Wildfires prompt evacuation of 46 from retirement home in Portugal

A large wildfire raged out of control in northern Portugal on Sunday, prompting the evacuation of 46 people from a retirement home, firefighters said. The retirees were evacuated as the flames drew closer to the home in Anadia, in the northern district of Aveiro, about 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of Lisbon, firefighters said. Smoke was the main cause for evacuation as flames were not immediately endangering the home, the home's director told Lisbon radio TSF.

The retirees were taken to a sports pavilion. No injuries were reported.

A village in the Anadia region was also evacuated earlier Sunday as flames tore through six houses and barns, killing several farm animals. Several others villages were also being evacuated in the county of Agueda in the Aveiro district, firefighters said. Two other blazes flared up in the northern districts of Castelo Branco and Viseu.

Nearly 1,000 firefighters battled the wildfires, supported by more than 250 fire trucks and 11 water-dropping airplanes.

So far this year, wildfires have killed 15 people, 11 of them firefighters. Fires have burned through 180,000 hectares (445,000 acres) this year, already more compared to the total area burned last year 129,652 hectares (320,370 acres). Portugal is experiencing its worst drought on record with little rain falling in the past 10 months. By mid-August, at least 75 percent of Portugal had been gripped by extreme drought, the worst level on a four stage scale ranging from weak to extreme.

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