Dozens killed in Portugal forest fire

Dozens killed in Portugal forest fire

The huge forest fire that erupted Saturday in central Portugal killed at least 62 people and injured 62 more, many trapped in their cars by the flames.

Other bodies were found in houses in isolated areas.

Gomes said 54 people were also injured in the fire, five of them seriously, including four firefighters and a minor.

Valdemar Alves, mayor of Pedrogao Grande, said: “This is a region that has had fires because of its forests, but we can not remember a tragedy of these proportions”.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa says it’s the biggest tragedy of human life in many years.

Portuguese Interior Minister Constanca Urbano de Sousa said the death toll in a forest fire had risen to 62 by the end of Sunday. “Let us pray in silence”, he said.

Nearly 700 firefighters and more than 200 fire engines have been deployed to tackle the flames, according to the civil defence service.

More than 350 soldiers yesterday joined the 700 firefighters who have been struggling to put out the blaze.

The wildfires in Portugal are continuing to spread, forcing residents to leave their homes.

In Nodeirinho, a hillside village of a few dozen people, 84-year-old Marta da Conceicao said residents called the fire services more than 20 times for help on Saturday.

It is often subject to forceful winds and inland temperatures sometimes hovering around 40 degrees Celsius, (104 Fahrenheit).

Once the flames have been extinguished, however, there will no doubt be an investigation into why so many victims apparently died after finding themselves cut off, encircled by fire and stranded along roads they took while trying to flee by auto.

Two people were killed in a road accident during the fires.

A wildfire in Portugal overtook forests in central Portugal, leading to the death of at least 61 people as a result.

Eventually the fire passed and we emerged to see the smouldering remains of the village.

He said a key measure would be the creation of “fire-resilient communities” who receive instructions on what to do when faced with a wildfire and don’t act rashly.

Firefighters of the Portuguese National Republican Guard work to stop a forest fire from reaching the village of Avelar, central Portugal, at sunrise Sunday, June 18 2017.

Portugal “has to manage the fuel (fire-feeding vegetation) in the landscape”, she said, adding that much vegetation, such as bushes and shrubs, needs to be removed or cleaned up to prevent the fires from spreading fast, and for this, the landowners must be involved.

In addition to the Portuguese rescue teams that arrived from the cities of Coimbra, Setubal and Lisbon, two Spanish aircraft were aiding extinction efforts while the arrival of French support was also expected.

Civil Protection Agency commander Elisio Oliveira has told reporters that cooler night-time temperatures helped firefighters bring some blazes under control.