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Portugal braces for wildfire season after 106 died last year

AP  |  Lisbon 

Almost 6,300 firefighters are on in as the country gears up for the annual season amid controversy over whether enough has been done to prevent a repeat of last year's unprecedented 106 deaths.

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 are commonly populated by elderly people who sometimes are unable to clear forest debris.

Critics say the government has been slow to act.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 15 2018. 17:21 IST