Firefighters keep battling with fire that killed at least 62 in Portugal

Ruben Ruiz
June 19, 2017

The fire, which is still burning, has left more than 60 people dead in Central Portugal https://t.co/m9OVBlRhrB- The New York Times (@nytimes) June 18, 2017 One psychiatric nurse is helping those who have been traumatised.

People are evacuated from their houses by Red Cross and police members due the proximity of a forest fire in central Portugal.

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"Sharing their pain" -Portugal was sweltering under a severe heatwave over the weekend, with temperatures topping 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in several regions. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.

Mr Gomes said at least 30 of those killed were in vehicles engulfed by flames on a road between the towns of Figueiro dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera.

Police said a lightning strike on a tree probably caused the blaze on Saturday in a region hit by an intense heat wave and dry, gusty winds, which has fanned the flames.

Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa described the fire as the greatest tragedy that the country has seen in recent years in terms of forest fires.

Yesterday afternoon, almost 900 firefighters and 300 vehicles were still battling the blaze while scenes of devastation could be seen around the town.

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Some 600 firefighters were trying to put out the fires, which started Saturday.

"This is a region that has had fires because of its forests, but we can not remember a tragedy of these proportions", said the municipality's mayor, Valdemar Alves, according to The AP.

Firefighters said the weather conditions were still adverse in most areas where the flames were raging.

Portuguese officials say giant clouds of smoke are preventing the deployment of water-dropping aircraft on wildfires in the central region of the country where 62 people have died in the runaway flames.

He added that firefighting crews are having difficulties battling the "very violent flames".

"Many cars could not get out, and people burned to death inside their cars", Jorge Gomes, Portuguese secretary of state of internal administration, told CNN affiliate TVI. Portugal's prime minister António Costa has called this fire "the biggest tragedy" that this European nation has faced in decades. "I am completely stunned by the number of deaths". France was also sending three aircraft and Greece's prime minister also offered to send firefighting help.

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

Other reports by GizPress

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