LISBON – More than 740 firefighters battled a forest fire in southern Portugal on Saturday as temperatures climbed to near record highs in the Iberian Peninsula amid a Europe-wide heatwave that has brought drought and wildfires from Greece to Sweden.
Seeking to prevent more deaths after 114 people were killed in two massive forest blazes last year in Portugal, civil protection sent mobile text alerts warning the population of an extreme risk of fires in some regions, including around the capital Lisbon. In Greece, a wildfire killed 91 people last month.
In the coastal resort area of Cascais, outside Lisbon, a power network overload due to heavy use of air conditioning caused a blackout on Friday night, leaving tens of thousands of people without power for several hours and shutting a large shopping mall. In Lisbon, temperatures reached 43 degrees Celsius on Friday.