Portugal: Number of wildfires, scorched areas falls by half

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal’s government is reporting major progress against wildfires that traditionally scorch the country each summer. Officials said Thursday the average annual number of blazes and charred area has fallen by more than half over the past three years compared with the previous decade. Authorities enacted a broad range of measures after wildfires killed more than 100 people in 2017. Though officials say climate change, including higher temperatures and lower rainfall, is partly to blame for the destruction, experts also identify poor forest management and preparedness as a cause of repeated outbreaks. Authorities say they have opened more than 2,800 miles of firebreaks in recent years.