Portugal's August wildfires make up half of EU's 2016 total

AP News
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Posted: Aug 17, 2016 6:37 AM
Portugal's August wildfires make up half of EU's 2016 total

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Authorities say a series of wildfires this month in Portugal has burned more than half of the land lost to blazes in the entire 28-nation European Union so far this year.

The EU's Forest Fire Information System, which collates wildfire data, says wildfires have charred more than 217,000 hectares (536,200 acres) in the bloc in 2016.

Almost 116,000 hectares (286,600 acres) of the charred forest land is in Portugal, the agency told The Associated Press.

Four people have died in the country's worst wildfires in recent memory.

However, Portuguese emergency services reported Wednesday that cooler temperatures and a drop in wind strength gave fire crews some respite after two weeks of battling intense flames.