Portugal has been experiencing the worst drought in years. Drought and the dry conditions that follow lead to wildfires set by just a spark or a lightning strike. Portugal's north has been plagued with wildfires due to these such conditions. Spain and France have joined their firefight lending water-dumping aircraft in an effort to quell the raging fires. The dry conditions, heat, high winds, and difficult terrain in the area where the fires have been most active have produced what the firefighters over there have dubbed "the perfect storm."
Portugal's Serra da Estrela National Park (south of the city of Porto) was finally under control on Saturday after 300 firefighters, with the help of planes and helicopters, battled against the flames for more than 24 hours. However, one firefighter was killed and nine other were injured during the firefighting activites. To date, four emergency workers have been killed battling Portugal's blazes. In Portugal almost 31,000 hectares (76,000 acres) have been destroyed by fire this year, according to its Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests. The cause of the blazes is still under investigation and 47 suspects have been questioned to date.
This natural-color satellite image was collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite on August 27, 2013. Actively burning areas, detected by MODIS's thermal bands, are outlined in red.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC. Caption by Lynn Jenner with information from UK Telegraph and Channel News Asia
AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.