Fires ravage holiday island

Thick plumes of smoke rising above Funchal, the capital of Madeira, as wildfires ravaged the Portuguese holiday island this week.

Three people have been killed, two seriously hurt and about a thousand evacuated from homes and hotels.

The three victims died in their homes close to Funchal's historical centre, while the five-star Choupana Hills Resort overlooking the town was destroyed, as were several houses. Other buildings had been damaged by flames, officials said yesterday.

"Last night, the fire was a hundred metres away from the hotel and you could hear gas bottles exploding," said Mr Ricardo Correia, manager of the Castanheiro hotel.

Evacuees were sheltering at military installations.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2016, with the headline 'Fires ravage holiday island'. Print Edition | Subscribe