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The Latest: Dutch campsites evacuated amid brush fire
August 7, 2018
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — The Latest on hot weather and wildfires in Europe (all times local):
Authorities have evacuated four campsites as a brush fire swept through tinder-dry countryside in the eastern Netherlands.
The regional security service said that firefighters from three provinces were battling the blaze Tuesday in Wateren, 135 kilometers (85 miles) northeast of Amsterdam, and a military helicopter was also on its way to help.
There were no reports of injuries or damage to any homes. Members of the public were warned to stay away from the area.
Along with much of Europe, the Netherlands is in the grip of a blistering heatwave. Temperatures were in the mid-30s C (90s F) in the late afternoon. But they are expected to fall in evening, with a band of storms expected to pass over parts of the country.
France’s environment minister has called on motorists to comply with car restrictions amid a heat wave expected to peak Tuesday in the country.
Nicolas Hulot told Europe 1 radio “we are facing a new situation. We need to adapt to climate change and keep fighting its causes to avoid an amplification of the phenomena.”
The cities of Paris, Lyon and Strasbourg have banned the most polluting cars from the streets for the second consecutive day because of heat-linked ozone pollution. Speed limits have also been lowered on certain roads and highways across France.
The hottest weather Tuesday was expected in central and northeastern France, with temperatures that could reach 40 C (104 F).
More than 1,000 firefighters supported by 19 aircraft are battling a major wildfire in southern Portugal for a fifth straight day.
Authorities had hoped lower overnight temperatures would allow services to contain the blaze. But officials said Tuesday that strong winds are fueling the flames which are racing through dry and largely inaccessible woodland.
The fire came within 500 meters of the fire department in Monchique, a town of 2,000 people about 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Lisbon, as officials evacuated scores of houses. Emergency services say 29 people have been hurt in the wildfire.
Officials say an unknown number of homes located in the forested hills have burned down.
The firefighting effort is drawing criticism, with some claiming poor organization is thwarting the operation.