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Madeira wildfires: Evacuations as flames approach Funchal

Forest fire in Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal, 9 August 2016. The fire has led to the evacuation of 400 people Image copyright EPA

More than 400 people have been evacuated on the Portuguese island of Madeira after wildfires destroyed buildings near the capital, Funchal.

Regional President Miguel Albuquerque said one person had suffered serious burns and scores of others had needed treatment for the effects of smoke.

At least 27 homes had been destroyed on the popular holiday island, off north-west Africa, he added.

Smoke fanned by strong winds has also disrupted flights at the airport.

Mr Albuquerque told reporters that fires encroaching on Funchal were now under control and cooler temperatures forecast for Wednesday should ease the situation.

Firefighters said steep hills and dense woodland were making it difficult to tackle the flames.

Image copyright Reuters

Image copyright Reuters

Madeira has been experiencing high summer temperatures.

Footage showed plumes of smoke over central Funchal on Tuesday and residents using hosepipes to try to quench fires as burning embers were carried by the wind.

A shopping centre and a hospital were among the buildings evacuated, reports said.

Media captionWildfires sweep through Portugal forests

Wildfires have also been affecting the Portuguese mainland in recent days.

Seven major fires, most of them in the north of the country, were burning out of control by Tuesday evening, officials said.


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