Portugal –– Heavy winds were hindering firefighters’ efforts to extinguish the fires on the island, part of an archipelago near the western coast of Africa.
LISBON, Portugal – Forest fires raged Thursday on Portugal’s Atlantic Ocean island of Madeira, and residents living near wooded areas at the edge of the island’s largest city fled in panic after one blaze destroyed two houses and damaged at least 25 more, officials said.
About 100 people were unable to return to their homes after the fire on the outskirts of Funchal late Thursday night sent towering flames illuminating the city’s hilly backdrop, Mayor Miguel Albuquerque said. Some people were treated for smoke inhalation, but none sustained serious injuries.
Television images showed Funchal residents using garden hoses to try to put out fires near homes and brooms to beat down flames on rooftops.
The blaze didn’t immediately threaten the city Thursday, but other fires broke out elsewhere on the island. Portugal’s state-run Lusa news agency said 14 school children were removed from a school and 40 people were evacuated from homes because of the fires.
Heavy winds were hindering firefighters’ efforts to extinguish the fires, Lusa said. Madeira island is part of an archipelago near the western coast of Africa.
A villager tries to wet the grass as the fire wall approaches the houses in Assomada, on Madeira Island. The problems started on Wednesday evening when high temperatures and strong winds fanned a fire that broke out on the edge of the capital Funchal. A man runs away from the flames as a wildfire rages near the houses in Assomada, Madeira Island. A wildfire rages near the houses in Assomada, on Madeira Island, on Saturday. More than 1,000 fire fighters and rescuers backed by helicopters and water bombing planes battled Saturday to douse a forest fire in Portugal’s southern Algarve region, a top tourist draw. A woman is helped away as a wildfire rages near houses in Assomada, on Madeira Island Saturday.