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Portugal fires burn 520,000 hectares, nearly 60 percent of EU total
October 18, 2017 / 4:16 PM / a month ago

Portugal fires burn 520,000 hectares, nearly 60 percent of EU total

LISBON (Reuters) - Portugal’s fires have burnt 520,000 hectares of forest this year, 52 times the size of Lisbon and representing nearly 60 percent of the total area burnt in the entire European Union in 2017, data from the EU showed on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Smoke and flames from a forest fire are seen near Lousa, Portugal, October 16, 2017. REUTERS/Pedro Nunes

The amount of land burnt is the highest ever in Portugal's history, surpassing 425,000 hectares in 2003 - the previous record. The total area burnt in all of the European Union this year was 902,000 hectares (here#).

Portugal represents about 2.1 percent of Europe’s total landmass.

The data shows the massive scale of this year’s fires, which have killed more than a hundred people in the two most deadly incidents. The data showed that in the last lethal fire outbreak, on Sunday, 180,000 hectares burnt.

Portugal’s Socialist government is facing growing criticism for its handling of the fires and on Wednesday the interior minister resigned.

Reporting By Axel Bugge

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