“The fire arrived 50 meters from the last house in the village (…) Up there everything burned,” Donzilia Marques told AFP, pointing to the hills between her hamlet of Travessa de Almogadel and the town. of Freixianda, in the municipality of Ourém (center).

Evacuated from her home the night before, this 76-year-old retiree was able to return to it on Sunday morning, relieved to discover that no house had burned down there.

The fire which ignited on Thursday, and which mobilized more than 700 peacekeepers on Sunday after ravaging at least 1,500 hectares of vegetation, however destroyed at least two houses, according to civil protection.

The fires of the last few days have injured at least a dozen firefighters and nearly twenty among the population, but most of the victims were treated on the spot for symptoms of intoxication or exhaustion.

Another blaze mobilizing 450 firefighters had been raging since Friday not far from there, in the municipality of Pombal, also located at the confluence of the districts of Leiria and Santarém.

The fire that broke out Thursday in Carrazeda de Ansiães, in the region of Bragança (northeast), was the other hot spot of this “high risk” weekend, in the words of Prime Minister Antonio Costa, who canceled a trip to Mozambique to monitor the situation as closely as possible.

The Portuguese government has decided to raise the alert level by declaring a “state of contingency” from Monday to Friday next week, and asked the European Union to activate its common civil protection mechanism , obtaining the dispatch of two water bomber planes stationed in Spain.

“We are facing an almost unprecedented situation in meteorological terms”, commented the national commander of civil protection, André Fernandes, while more than 120 fire starts per day were recorded on Friday and Saturday.

Referring to temperatures that could reach 45 degrees Celsius, Interior Minister José Luis Carneiro for his part said that Portugal was facing the “worst conjunction of factors” since the fires of June and October 2017, which had caused more than a hundred deaths.

The fires that are multiplying across the globe are associated with various phenomena anticipated by scientists due to global warming. The increase in temperature, the multiplication of heat waves and the drop in precipitation in places is thus an ideal combination for the development of fires.

The current heat wave affects a country in which 28.4% of the territory was in a situation of “extreme drought” at the end of June, against 1.4% a month earlier.