LISBON, Feb 28 (Reuters) – A rare winter forest fire killed four Portuguese firefighters on Monday, authorities said.
The four from the Coimbra fire brigade were among a group of five battling a blaze in mountains near Mortagua, about 210 km (130 miles) northeast of Lisbon, Coimbra Mayor Carlos Encarnacao told private TSF radio.
“There was a shift in the wind and they were overwhelmed by flames. One was able to get away, but four were caught in the fire,” Encarnacao said.
About 90 firefighters were fighting the blaze, backed by one helicopter and 22 vehicles, the Lusa news agency said.
Portugal is suffering one of its worst droughts in 100 years and the fire broke out on Monday during what is usually the Iberian nation’s rainy season.