Death toll in Portugal forest fires rises to 62

Death toll in Portugal forest fires rises to 62

FIFA President Gianni Infantino, attending the match in Russian Federation, also offered his condolences.

The prime minister said the emergency services acted as fast as they could but acknowledged that some of the efforts like alerting the population might have been hindered because the blaze had ruined phone lines and communications towers. "There are no words for that".

He said it was vital to focus on the prevention of new fires, amid a continuing heat wave, strong winds and lack of rain. Last August, an outbreak of fires across Portugal killed four people, including three on the island of Madeira, and destroyed huge areas of forest.

Almost 600 firefighters and 160 vehicles were dispatched late on June 17 to tackle the blaze, which broke out in the afternoon in the municipality of Pedrogao Grande, about 50 kilometers from Coimbra, before spreading fast across several fronts.

He said the death toll was lowered from the previously reported 62 victims because one person had been counted twice.

Another 54 people have been injured, including four firefighters and a child with serious injuries.

Portugal has declared three days of national morning as the forest fire death toll has reached 62.

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

The tragedy is the worst in recent memory in the southern European country, which often suffers wildfires during the hot and dry summer months. He wrote: "Sad to learn of tragic loss of lives in the forest fire in Portugal".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday took to Twitter and condoled the loss of lives following the forest fires in Portugal on Saturday.

"Yesterday we saw the fire but thought it was very far".

As Alison Roberts reports from Lisbon for our Newscast unit, officials believe a lightning strike is likely to blame for the Pedrogão Grande fire, and they have ruled out a criminal cause.

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On Sunday, Costa also tweeted his "deepest regret for the victims... and a word of encouragement and strength for all who help combat this scourge".

He added "I am so thankful to the firefighters and other professions who are giving their all for the security of each of us by fighting the fires".

Francis referred to the "devastating fire" at the end of his Sunday prayer, delivered from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square. EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides expressed his condolences for the victims in a statement, saying the "EU is fully ready to help". France has offered three planes and Spain has sent two, authorities said.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy tweeted that he is "overwhelmed by the tragedy at Pedrogao Grande".

"Many cars could not get out, and people burned to death inside their cars", Jorge Gomes, the Portuguese secretary of state for the interior, told CNN affiliate TVI.

"The smoke cloud is very low, which does not allow helicopters and fire planes to work efficiently. but we're doing everything possible and impossible to put out this fire", Gomes said, adding that no villages were now at risk.

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.

- A raging forest fire in central Portugal killed at least 61 people as they desperately tried to flee, charring cars and trucks as it swept over roads.

Brandao said that "at 3:30 a.m.my mother-in-law woke me up quickly and we never went to sleep again. We were afraid the fire would reach us". Authorities say temperatures as high as 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in the area in recent days might have also played a part in the inferno.

Public broadcaster RTP said there were about 20 injured, including six firefighters.

Thirty bodies were found inside cars and nearly 20 more were found next to vehicles, Portuguese officials said.

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