Yesterday, thousands of people manifested on the streets to show their anger and sadness towards the government, unable to prevent the spread of wildfires in the country.
This is due to the tragedy that Portugal has just suffered over the past weeks. Currently, the authorities talk of 44 dead due to the wildfires that have burnt thousands of hectares of forest. This increases this year’s death toll to 104 dead and around 316 000 hectares of burnt forests, in what is considered one of the worst years for forest fires in the country.
There are many reasons for this. This year, over 80% of the country has been affected by the droughts, as well as constant strong winds. Climate change doesn’t help the situation either, with higher temperatures coming before and leaving later. Contrary to neighbouring Spain, that spends fortunes on professional firemen, prevention and equipment, most of Portugal’s fire force is composed of volunteer firemen with their own equipment, and there isn’t good cooperation between agencies, so fires are fought with little organization and a small budget.
The current investigations point out that most of the fires were started by criminals. Some of these people were already prosecuted in the past for starting other fires.
Due to the catastrophic management of the situation, the government has been heavily criticized by the local population, with the minister of Interior ending up resigning.
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