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Portugal cites success against wildfires: No deaths in 2018

October 25, 2018

FILE - In this file photo dated Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, a firefighting helicopter flies above a forest fire near the village of Charneca, in the Sintra national park, west of Lisbon. Portugal's government said Thursday Oct. 25, 2018, that its measures to fight wildfires paid off, with fewer blazes, a smaller charred area and no fatalities during 2018, after catastrophic wildfires killed 106 people in 2017. (AP Photo/Armando Franca, FILE)

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal’s government says its measures to fight wildfires have paid off, with fewer blazes, a smaller charred area and no fatalities this year after catastrophic wildfires killed 106 people in 2017.

The government said Thursday that in comparison with the average of the previous decade, the number of wildfires in 2018 is 43 percent lower and the burned area is 69 percent less.

However, this year has not witnessed the extreme weather conditions or severe drought that made 2017 so exceptional and contributed to the unprecedented 106 deaths in wildfires.

The government said its 2018 firefighting measures included clearing 2,500 hectares (6,170 acres) of woodland and creating more than 2,350 kilometers (1,400 miles) of firebreaks. They also increased number of firefighters by 11 percent over 2017.

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