At least three people have been killed and about 1,000 evacuated as wildfires sweep the Portuguese island of Madeira and threaten the capital, Funchal. The head of Madeira’s regional government, Miguel Albuquerque, said the three elderly victims had died in two houses in the early hours of Wednesday. Another person was reported missing. Albuquerque said more than 300 people had to be treated for smoke inhalation and minor burns. The blaze, fuelled by hot weather and strong winds, led to the evacuation of about 1,000 local people and tourists in the archipelago off north-western Africa. About 30 houses and a five-star hotel have been devoured by the fire. Flames licked at homes around Funchal, casting a plume of smoke over the centre, according to video broadcast by cable news channel SIC Notícias. Residents used garden hosepipes and buckets of water to keep the flames at bay as wind blew embers across roads. Fire service officials said Madeira’s steep hills and dense woodland made it hard to reach the flames. Eight firefighters required medical treatment after inhaling smoke as high winds fuelled the blaze. More than 200 patients were evacuated from a small hospital as a precaution, authorities said. On Tuesday,… Read full this story
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