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Portugal to limit eucalyptus groves to reduce wildfires

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LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portuguese lawmakers have agreed on new measures to help contain the fires that race through the country's forests each summer, after one wildfire last month that killed 64 people.

After weeks of discussion — and a marathon 15-hour meeting that ended at daybreak Wednesday — a parliamentary committee voted in favor of limiting eucalyptus plantations, which are commonly blamed for fueling blazes.

Portuguese media say the plan involves placing new eucalyptus plantations in cooler coastal areas where fires are less frequent and the soil is richer. The new plantations will eventually be half the size of the ones they replace inland. Paper pulp from eucalyptus accounts for around 3 percent of Portugal's GDP.

The agreement could still be derailed in a full session of Parliament.

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