Extreme temperatures combined with severe drought have contributed to the deadliest fire season on record in Portugal. A total of 64 people were killed in June and another 45 in October, with a peak of 523 fires being reported in mid-October. According to the European Union’s Emergency Management Service, this year wildfires have already burned nearly 520,000 hectares (1.3 million acres)—more than six times the country’s annual average of just over 83,000 hectares (205,000 acres).

According to the Portugal branch office, the fires claimed the lives of one of our brothers and his four-year-old nephew. The fires damaged or destroyed some of our brothers’ homes, as well as farmland and equipment, and killed some of their livestock. Local brothers and sisters have been busy helping one another to clean up the fire damage, removing burned trees and other debris.

A local Disaster Relief Committee was mobilized to provide practical assistance. Additionally, two members of the Portugal Branch Committee joined local circuit overseers and congregation elders as they visited our brothers and sisters to encourage them.

We pray that Jehovah continues to surround our brothers in Portugal with the loving support and comfort they need to recover from the extensive fire damage.—Psalm 71:21.

Media Contacts:

International: David A. Semonian, Office of Public Information, +1-845-524-3000

Portugal: João Pedro Candeias, +351-214-604-339