Wildfires have spread rapidly across Portugal, hitting the Algarve and numerous other regions around the country.
Blazes first occurred on Saturday in the municipality of Odemira, in the central Alentejo region, but have since spread south towards the tourist hotspot of the Algarve.
So, as the fires rage across the country, is it still safe to travel to Portugal? What are your rights as a holidaymaker given the current situation?
Read on below for everything you need to know about whether it is safe to travel to Portugal.
The UK Foreign Office (FCDO) advice on Portugal has not been updated to reflect the raging fires across the country
This locator map shows where the wildfires are happening across the country, including one in the popular tourist region of the Algarve
This map shows the risk of fire across Portugal and some parts of Spain, with much of Portugal facing an extreme risk of fire
Is it safe to travel to Portugal during the wildfires?
Authorities have declared more than 120 municipalities across Portugal at maximum risk of wildfires, with Lisbon placed under ‘red alert’.
‘Temperatures have increased across Spain, Portugal and North Africa in recent days, widely into the mid 30s C, if not into the low to mid 40s C’, the Met Office warned this week.
‘The heat is expected to extend further north and east by midweek, before temperatures return closer to average by the weekend’, it added.
The UK Foreign Office (FCDO) advice on Portugal has not been updated to reflect the raging fires across the country.
Its advice, which remains unchanged, reads: ‘Forest fires can occur anywhere in Portugal. Risk of fires is higher when the weather is hot and dry. Fires have become more common due to drought and high temperatures.
‘Forest fires are highly dangerous and unpredictable. The Portuguese authorities may evacuate areas and close roads for safety reasons.
‘Starting a forest fire, even if it is by accident, is illegal in Portugal.’
No holidays to Portugal appear to have been cancelled by travel companies at this time.
No holidays to Portugal appear to have been cancelled by travel companies at this time despite the ferocious blazes
What are your rights as a holidaymaker?
What you are entitled to as a holidaymaker is dependent upon the type of holiday you have booked and where your destination is.
If you have booked a package holiday through a tour operator to an area in the fire-impacted Odemira municipality, you may be allowed to cancel and receive a refund or rebook for free.
However, this would only be ‘in the event of unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances occurring at the place of destination or its immediate vicinity which significantly affect the performance of the package, or the carriage of passengers to the destination’, according to the Package Travel Regulations.
The important term to pay attention to here is ‘significantly affect’: if the travel company can still get you there and the hotel is unaffected by the wildfires, they are not required to refund you if you choose to cancel the holiday.
Separately, if your flight is cancelled, you have a number of different options.
If you have booked a package holiday through a tour operator to an area in the fire-impacted Odemira municipality, you may be allowed to cancel and receive a refund
You are legally entitled to a full refund, which includes other flights from the airline that you won’t use in the same booking, such as onward or return flights.
You are also entitled to a replacement flight to get you to your destination.
If your cancelled flight delays you by two hours or more, you have the legal right to be helped with costs.
If the replacement flight offered to you has delayed you by two hours or more, and you were given less than two weeks’ notice, you are legally entitled to compensation.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk