A firefighter jumps off a small mound while working on a fire near the village of Monchique, in southern Portugal's Algarve region, Monday, Aug. 6, 2018. Emergency services in Portugal say they are still fighting a major wildfire on the south coast that threatened to engulf a hillside town overnight. (AP Photo/Javier Fergo)

Huge forest blaze defies Portugal's firefighting efforts

August 07, 2018 - 4:28 am

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — More than 1,000 firefighters supported by 19 aircraft are battling a major wildfire in southern Portugal for a fifth straight day.

Authorities had hoped lower overnight temperatures would allow services to contain the blaze. But officials said Tuesday that strong winds are fueling the flames which are racing through dry and largely inaccessible woodland.

The fire came within 500 meters of the fire department in Monchique, a town of 2,000 people about 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Lisbon, as officials evacuated scores of houses. Emergency services say 29 people have been hurt in the wildfire.

Officials say an unknown number of homes located in the forested hills have burned down.

The firefighting effort is drawing criticism, with some claiming poor organization is thwarting the operation.

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