(Portugal wildfires) Smoke hampers airborne firefighting operations

World | 19 Jun 2017 10:23 pm

Portuguese officials say giant clouds of smoke are preventing the deployment of water-dropping aircraft on wildfires in the central region of the country. 

Civil Protection Agency commander Elisio Oliveira has told reporters that cooler night-time temperatures helped firefighters bring some blazes under control. 

However, some of the wildfires are still racing through inaccessible parts of hill ranges about 150 kilometers northeast of Lisbon. That is where the aircraft are needed. 

Temperatures are forecast to reach close to 40 C there later today. 

More than 1,000 firefighters are tackling the wildfires around the town of Pedrogao Grande, where 62 people died Saturday night. -AP

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