Authorities said 47 people died when they were caught in the fire as they drove along a road in dense woodland between Figueiro Dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed grief over the Portugal forest fire tragedy in which 62 people lost their lives. However, there is no information available on the cause of the death for the others.
So far, no one has been reported killed by the fire inside a house.
Gomes also said that eight firefighters were among the injured – four of them in serious condition. Pedrogao Grande is approximately 120 miles from the country’s capital, Lisbon. Three days of national mourning have been declared. The disaster – the worst tragedy Portugal has experienced in decades – shook the nation, with the president declaring that the country’s pain “knows no end”.
Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa embraces Secretary of State of Internal Administration Jorge Gomes. Our thoughts are with victims.
The official also said that firefighting crews were having difficulties in battling the fire, which was “very violent” in at least two of its four fronts.
It’s been incredibly dry and hot all across Portugal early this summer, with a recent heat wave and drought severely affecting firefighters’ abilities to control the raging inferno.
Spain dispatched two water-bombing planes on Sunday morning to aid the Portuguese fire service on the ground, Costa said.
Speaking in the Vatican, Pope Francis, who visited Portugal last month, mentioned the victims in his weekly address.
The European Union has activated its civil protection efforts to help Portugal fight forest fires that have killed at least 43 people.
Nearly 700 firefighters and more than 200 fire engines have been deployed to tackle the flames, according to the civil defence service.
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”. The “disproportionate loss of life” was a “new reality” that required “nerves of steel” to deal with as well as care and support for families affected, Mr Costa said. Numerous victims of the fire were trapped in their cars as flames swept over a road on the evening of June 17.
A local resident who fled from a forest fire in central Portugal has blamed the lack of rain for helping produce the blaze that has killed 43 people and injured scores more. “If it had rained, this would not happen”. “At 3.30am, my mother-in-law woke me up quickly and we never went to sleep again”. Both of them were scared of the fire and the possibility of it reaching them.
Portuguese authorities say that they are still investigating the cause of the fire.
According to the prime minister, just 11 fires were still active but he said the authorities were “particularly anxious about two of them”.