Portugal battles major wildfire in Algarve region

Smoke surrounds the outskirts of the village of Monchique, in southern Portugal's Algarve region, Monday, Aug. 6, 2018
Smoke surrounds the outskirts of the village of Monchique, in southern Portugal's Algarve region, Monday, Aug. 6, 2018

Emergency services in Portugal say they are still fighting a major wildfire on the south coast that threatened to engulf a hillside town overnight.

The Civil Protection Agency said 44 people required medical assistance as the blaze passed by the outskirts of Monchique, 155 miles south of Lisbon. A 72-year-old woman was seriously hurt.

A firefighter works on an active fire on a hillside outside the village of Monchique, in southern Portugal's Algarve region

A firefighter works on an active fire on a hillside outside the village of Monchique, in southern Portugal's Algarve region

More than 1,000 firefighters with 327 vehicles and seven aircraft were battling the blaze.

The wind-driven fire has raced across tinder-dry pine and eucalyptus forest in a largely inaccessible hill range behind the famous beaches of Portugal's Algarve vacation region.

Plumes of black smoke have blown across beaches popular with European tourists.

Firefighters expect cooler temperatures that have been forecast to help them bring the fire under control.