Firefighters tackle Portugal wildfires amid third heatwave of the year

Algarve residents are met with devastation as the wildfires across Portugal have been brought under control, as ITV News International Correspondent John Irvine reports

Firefighters have battled overnight to control wildfires in Portugal after more than a thousand people were evacuated from their homes.

Almost 2,000 firefighters were engaged in tackling the blazes in the Odemira wildfire in the south and the Castelo Branco wildfire in the centre of the country.

Officials now say the Castelo Branco fire is under control, but issues remain in the south.

Around 1,400 people were evacuated from their homes as firefighters, mostly from the vicinity of the Odemira wildfire.

Among the places evacuated were 19 small villages, four tourist accommodations and a camping site.

Officials have also said the Odemira wildfire has now reached the Algarve countryside.

The area is less than 30 miles from The Algarve coast home to several holiday spots like Lagos and Portimao.

Over 300 fire vehicles and at least nine water carrier aircraft responded to the infernos on Monday.

Firefighters tackling the blazes. Credit: ITV News

It has so far scorched around 7,000 hectares.

Blistering temperatures and high winds have created perfect tinderbox conditions in most of the country.

Odemira's mayor said on Tuesday the situation is "critical, difficult, and complex," with fire chiefs in the region warning there was a lot of work ahead of them to completely extinguish the blaze.

On Monday, the country's hottest temperature of the year was recorded in Santarém, north-east of Lisbon, where temperatures soared to 46.4C.

Earlier in the week several weather warnings were issued up and down the country due to the extreme heat.

It is the third heatwave already this summer to hit the Iberian Peninsula.

Wednesday is expected to be a milder day with clouds rolling in and temperatures forecast to be in the high 20s.

What should you do if you have a holiday booked in Portugal?

First of all the majority of Portugal has not been impacted by the fires, Lisbon and Porto are both far from the danger, with most of it contained to the south west of the country.

No tourists operator has yet issued extra guidance to holidaymakers hoping to visit the region.

Which? Consumer Expert Harry Kind told ITV News to refrain from cancelling your holiday early because you're unlikely to receive any compensation.

Airlines and tourist companies usually only begin to offer compensation when either the UK government or the local government start to warn people to stay away from the area.

The UK Foreign Office has not changed its travel advice for Portugal in recent days but has issued a general warning about wildfires in several European countries.

Mr Kind encouraged people to contact their airlines and holiday provider to get the most up-to-date information.

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