ENVIRONMENT

Return of wind, heat brings back forest fires to Portugal

Strong winds and rising temperatures are stoking wildfires in Portugal after cooler weather brought a brief respite from a spate of blazes, including one that killed 64 people in June.

The Civil Protection Agency says it is tackling seven forest fires Thursday, deploying more than 1,300 firefighters and 25 water-dropping aircraft.

Wildfires in Portugal this year account for more than one-third of the burnt forest in the entire 28-nation European Union.

The EU's Emergency Management Service says almost 140,000 hectares (346,000 acres) of Portuguese woodland was charred up to Aug. 5, part of some 380,000 hectares (939,000 acres) across the bloc. It says blackened forests in Portugal up to Aug. 5 are about five times more than the average recorded in the country between 2008 and 2016.