Portuguese radio says 25 people killed in forest fires

Cheryl Sanders
June 18, 2017

The Portuguese government says the number of dead is now 39, with many dying in their cars as flames swept over a road.

He said, so far, 24 deaths are confirmed and the death toll may rise further.

Brandao said that "at 3:30 am my mother-in-law woke me up quickly and we never went to sleep again".

Spain dispatched two water-bombing planes on Sunday morning to aid the Portuguese fire service on the ground, the prime minister said.

"We received yesterday a first good news from Fitch after four years and a half".

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who has travelled to the region to assess the situation, said high temperatures and winds have hampered efforts to put out the fire, which has destroyed a number of homes in the area.

A firefighter helps a woman during a forest fire in Pedrogao Grande.

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.

Almost 60 other people were injured, including four firefighters and a seriously injured minor, Interior Ministry official Jorge Gomes told state broadcaster RTP.

Almost 60 other people have been injured, including four firefighters, in what Prime Minister Antonio Costa described as "the biggest tragedy of human life that we have known in years".

Fourteen civilians were injured, 10 of them seriously, along with six firefighters, he added.

Secretary of State for the Interior Jorge Gomes earlier said that three people died from smoke inhalation and 16 died in their cars on the road linking Figueiró dos Vinhos to Castanheira de Pera.

Overnight, about 60 forest fires were ignited across the country, eliciting 1,700 firefighters to battle to put them out.

The fire comes as temperatures soar in Portugal, with officials warning the public of temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius.

Smoke rises from a forest fire, seen from the village of Mourisco in central Portugal.

The country was hit by a series of fires past year which devastated more than 100,000 hectares (1,000 square kilometres) of the mainland.

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