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Portugal goes on alert for wildfires amid heat, low rainfall

Published
FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 16 2017 file photo, people watch a wildfire raging near houses on the outskirts of Obidos, Portugal. Authorities in Portugal have placed the country on high alert from Wednesday March 27, 2019 through Sunday March 31, 2019, for wildfires amid a prolonged dry spell and unseasonably high temperatures. (AP Photo/Armando Franca, File)

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Authorities in Portugal have placed the country on high alert for wildfires amid a prolonged dry spell and unseasonably high temperatures.

The government announced a civil protection alert from Wednesday through Sunday because of "a significant worsening of the wildfire risk."

The alert means exceptional measures are being enacted, including more firefighters on standby and a ban on burning cut vegetation.

The move comes after many weeks of almost no rain. A typically dry easterly wind from Spain is also forecast to blow strongly in coming days.

Authorities say the southern Algarve region, where forested hills look down on some of Europe's most popular vacation beaches, is especially at risk.

More than 100 people died in Portuguese wildfires in 2017. None died last year after the government took exceptional measures.

FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017 file photo, villagers watch a firefighting plane drop water to stop a raging forest fire reaching their houses just a few dozen meters away in the village of Chao de Codes, near Macao, central Portugal. Authorities in Portugal have placed the country on high alert from Wednesday March 27, 2019 through Sunday March 31, 2019, for wildfires amid a prolonged dry spell and unseasonably high temperatures. (AP Photo/Armando Franca, File)
FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 16 2017 file photo, people watch a wildfire raging near houses on the outskirts of Obidos, Portugal. Authorities in Portugal have placed the country on high alert from Wednesday March 27, 2019 through Sunday March 31, 2019, for wildfires amid a prolonged dry spell and unseasonably high temperatures. (AP Photo/Armando Franca, File)
FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 16 2017 file photo, people watch a wildfire raging near houses on the outskirts of Obidos, Portugal. Authorities in Portugal have placed the country on high alert from Wednesday March 27, 2019 through Sunday March 31, 2019, for wildfires amid a prolonged dry spell and unseasonably high temperatures. (AP Photo/Armando Franca, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017 file photo, villagers watch a firefighting plane drop water to stop a raging forest fire reaching their houses just a few dozen meters away in the village of Chao de Codes, near Macao, central Portugal. Authorities in Portugal have placed the country on high alert from Wednesday March 27, 2019 through Sunday March 31, 2019, for wildfires amid a prolonged dry spell and unseasonably high temperatures. (AP Photo/Armando Franca, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017 file photo, villagers watch a firefighting plane drop water to stop a raging forest fire reaching their houses just a few dozen meters away in the village of Chao de Codes, near Macao, central Portugal. Authorities in Portugal have placed the country on high alert from Wednesday March 27, 2019 through Sunday March 31, 2019, for wildfires amid a prolonged dry spell and unseasonably high temperatures. (AP Photo/Armando Franca, File)