A major forest fire broke out in Portugal's Madeira Islands on Tuesday, Aug, 9, which forced the evacuation of over 500 people from their homes and hospitals. The wildfires, which have been raging on for several days in the Portuguese mainland, is now under control and cooler temperatures expected on Wednesday will help put it out completely.
It is understood that at least 27 homes are left uninhabitable following the natural calamity and that at least one person has suffered severe burns, while many others need treatment due to inhalation of smoke. According to the National Civil Protection service, 26 water-dumping planes and 1,262 vehicles helped douse 149 blazes of varying sizes across the country with the help of over 4,000 firefighters.
It is understood that the high winds fuelled the flames which fed on the dry wood in Madeira's steep hills and dense woodland. The topography also made it difficult for the firefighters to douse the flames. It is understood that at least eight Madeira firefighters are seeking medical treatment after inhaling the smoke.
People from across the world sent out prayers to Portugual with the hashtag #PrayForPortugal. Some also shared devastating photos from the scene:
â€” thiago (@normanizzr) August 10, 2016
â€” Hadley (@HadleyJerome15) August 10, 2016
â€” izabela (@reinopjo) August 10, 2016