Wildfires in Portugal: fire chares 286,000 hectares of woodland

Eleven wildfires burned out of control Monday in northern and central Portugal, where the heat and drought of the summer arer stretching into autumn.

The Civil Protection Service said almost 1,700 firefighters with more than 450 vehicles were trying to extinguish the fires.

Authorities deployed 15 water-dumping aircraft, including a large Canadair plane requested from Spain, the AP reports.

Overnight, 18 people were treated for smoke inhalation near Viseu, a city 200 kilometers (120 miles) north of Lisbon, TSF radio reported. Authorities evacuated an old people's home, a primary school and a children's home as a precaution but reported no injuries.

The Forestry Service estimates that fire charred 286,000 hectares (706,700 acres) of woodland up to Sept. 25.

The Agriculture Ministry reckons the fires have caused about Ђ300 million (US$374 million) in damage. AM

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