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Portugal braces for wildfire season after 106 died last year

The government says that as from today, 13 water-dropping helicopters are available, with other aircraft already contracted for the critical period from June 1.

Authorities have enacted a series of measures since last year’s deadly blazes, including a national and mandatory forest cleaning programme.

A severe drought last year left forests tinder-dry. Experts have blamed the large-scale wildfires on woodland that is often neglected. Rural areas of Portugal are commonly populated by elderly people who sometimes are unable to clear forest debris. Critics say the government has been slow to act.

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