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People take to Twitter to show solidarity with firefighters battling Madeira fires

Firefighting vehicles line the street in the historical center of Funchal in Madeira island
Image: AFP/Getty Images

Wildfires in the Portuguese island of Madeira have reached the capital Funchal on Thursday, killing three elderly people and leaving more than 300 injured.

A forest watchman was killed on the mainland during the night when one of more than 100 blazes engulfed the caravan he was sleeping in 150km (95 miles) north of Lisbon.

As the emergency continues in Madeira, Portugal sought help to deal with about 186 wildfires on the mainland, including 14 major blazes.

The national government invoked the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, which allows other European states to help.

Almost 4,500 firefighters were deployed in a massive operation. They were supported by 28 water-dumping aircraft and 1,300 vehicles.

Miguel Albuquerque, the head of Madeira’s regional government, said officials suspect that fire was started deliberately and police have made two arrests.

A thousand people have been evacuated from homes and hotels.

People are taking to social media to share pictures of the Madeira fire with the hashtag #PrayForPortugal:

Many praised the effort of firefighters risking their lives to battle the blaze:

Italy already released a Canadair aircraft to join the effort and people thank them for the effort:

Others complained about lack of coverage by mainstream news organisations:

The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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