Wildfires rage in central Portugal + Arizona city watches, worries as mountain burns

Wildfires Rage in Central Portugal

INTRO: Over the past few days in Portugal’s Castelo Branco region, strong winds and temperatures greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) have driven devastating wildfires through several villages, destroying structures and injuring 39 people. Nearly 2,000 firefighters worked to bring the three major fires largely under control, but authorities warned that hot and dry conditions could lead to more flare-ups. Below, images of the wildfires and of the residents, volunteers, and professionals working to minimize the damage. (MORE - images)

Arizona city watches, worries as mountain area burns

EXCERPT: Anxious residents packed up prized possessions Tuesday as hundreds of firefighters worked to keep a wildfire in a forested Arizona city away from homes and hoped the weather might bring some relief. About two dozen homes have been evacuated in Flagstaff, a popular mountain getaway in the largest Ponderosa pine forest in the U.S. Residents of another 5,000 homes have been told to be prepared to flee the fire in Coconino National Forest.

[...] Another wildfire was burning near a nuclear energy research site in Idaho, prompting the evacuation of non-essential employees mainly because of wind changes and smoke. The fire was located on about 10 square miles (16 square kilometers) of desert near the center of the 890-square mile (1,432 kilometer) property, away from the buildings that make up Idaho National Laboratory.

In Arizona, firefighters were expecting much-needed rain along with erratic winds at times that could shift the direction of the fire. "If those winds kick up, that can cause real challenges for the firefighters," fire information officer Steve Kliest said. "When it spots farther ahead than equipment and resources, it can be a real problem." Forecasters also warned of potential flooding if enough rain falls on scarred mountain slopes. (MORE - details)

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