LISBON, July 21 (Xinhua) -- The wildfires of Castelo Branco raging across central Portugal since Saturday afternoon, with nearly 1,300 firefighters and 14 helicopters mobilized, has caused 20 injuries, including eight firefighters and 12 civilians, senior official announced on Sunday.
Eduardo Cabrita, Minister of Internal Administration, told reporters in the headquarters of the National Authority of Civil Protection in Lisbon that only one of the injured is in serious condition.
The firefighters are prepared "for a difficult day", with high temperatures and strong wind on Sunday morning, said Belo Costa, Commander of the Southern Center Group of the National Authority of Emergency and Civil Protection (ANEPC).
On Saturday "we confronted a relatively limited area in the district of Castelo Branco with a number of ignitions almost simultaneously", said the commander, quoted by local media, noting that it was an added challenge to respond to so many occurrences "in places all of them classified as sensitive".
The fires broke out after the authorities issued on Friday a three-day fire warning due to forecasted hot, dry and sporadic windy weather over the coming weekend throughout the country.
Since March, some regions have seen frequent erratically high temperatures and windy weather, resulting in wildfires that occurred far earlier in the season than usual.
The situation is not confined to Portugal. According to a research of the Joint Research Center, the European Commission's science and knowledge service, wildfires in the first quarter of 2019 burned more land in Europe than in the entire year of 2018.