Portuguese PM announces state of public calamity to prevent forest fires

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-19 02:47:35|Editor: yan
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LISBON, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced Friday the state of public calamity to prevent the forest fires during the weekend.

"This declaration also contains an absolute prohibition on the use of fireworks or any other pyrotechnic element commonly used in popular festivals taking place at this time of year," said Costa at a press conference at the official residence of Sao Bento, in Lisbon.

The state of public calamity with preventive measures will be in force between 14:00 Friday and 24:00 Monday in some 155 municipalities of the country's northern and central part of the country, he said.

The prime minister has appealed and warned society as a whole to avoid risky behavior and to be alert to suspicious situations that should be reported to the authorities.

Some of the risk behaviors are "pure negligence," such as throwing cigarette butts on the floor, doing barbecues or working with agricultural machinery, activities prohibited by all emergency plans, he said.

Earlier in the day Costa called a meeting with military and civilian officials in preparation for mobilizing all forces to combat the possible forest fires in the northern and central part of the country.

High temperatures are forecast to reach 40 degrees Celcius in Portugal during the weekend, which will fuel the quick spread of forest fires.

Portugal has been hard hit by forest fires since June when a devastating fires killed 64 people and injured some 250 others in Pedrogao Grande area, some 200 km northeast of Lisbon.