Deadly wildfires in Portugal have destroyed area the size of 100,000 soccer fields

A series of wildfires has charred nearly 116,000 hectares of forest in Portugal in 2016.

Portugal alone accounts for more than half of all forests fires in the EU this year

A series of wildfires this month in Portugal has destroyed nearly 116,000 hectares (286,600 acres) of forest, an area the size of 100,000 soccer fields.

(Nuno Andre Ferreira/EPA)

More than 100 wildfires active in the country. 

The European Union's Forest Fire Information System, which collates wildfire data, says wildfires have charred more than 217,000 hectares (536,200 acres) in the bloc in 2016. Nearly half of the scorched forest land is in Portugal.

(Nuno Andre Ferreira/EPA)

Wildfires claim 4 lives.

Four people have died in the country's worst wildfires in recent memory. However, Portuguese emergency services reported Wednesday that cooler temperatures and a drop in wind strength gave fire crews some respite after two weeks of battling intense flames.

(Octavio Passos/EPA)

Firefighters continue battling blazes.

Thousands of firefighters are dealing with the ongoing wildfires, which have burned across Portugal since Aug 9. 

(Octavio Passos/EPA)

On Monday, Portugal's National Civil Protection Service said around 2,000 firefighters supported by over a dozen water-dumping aircraft were tackling more than 50 different fires throughout the country.

(Rafael Marchante/Reuters)

Madeira Island one of the worst hit areas.

The Portuguese island of Madeira is a famous tourist spot, but the forest fire has forced many stores to close. There are still sporadic flames on the mountain, which has large areas of burnt trees and shrubs. Firefighters continue to patrol the area. 

(Gregorio Cunha/EPA)

Suspects arrested for arson.

Police suspect that arsonists are responsible for the deadly forest fires and they have arrested several suspects, mostly unemployed men aged 20 to 35.

(Estela Silva/EPA)

Some residents help fight the flames.

(Miguel Riopa/AFP/Getty Images)

Televised images showed residents dousing homes and nearby woods to try to stave off the flames.

(Rafael Marchante/Reuters)

Others search for their belongings in the ruins.   

In Madeira, more than 200 buildings in the regional capital and popular resort Funchal have been destroyed or damaged and some 1,000 people relocated.

(Patricia De Melo Moreira/AFP/Getty Images)

Portugal applies for aid from the EU.

The EU is sending more firefighters and equipment to help control the fire. Meanwhile, many cities in the country are on high alert. 

(Sergio Azenha/Associated Press)

With files from The Associated Press and Reuters