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Portuguese firefighter killed in forest blaze

August 29, 2013

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portuguese officials say a female firefighter has died in a forest blaze, becoming the fifth fatality among emergency crews in a month as summer wildfires scorch large areas of parched countryside.

Jorge Dias, spokesman for the National Civil Protection Authority, said five other members of the victim’s crew were injured Thursday in the fire near Tondela, about 200 kilometers (120 miles) north of Lisbon, the capital. He had no immediate details of what happened.

Temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) and strong winds have fueled fires in recent weeks, especially in the ranges of hills and dense woodland of central Portugal.

Two Spanish water-dropping planes were sent across the border earlier Thursday to help Portugal, while Portuguese army sappers with bulldozers were called up to create firebreaks.

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