Blazing fires in Portugal claim 61 lives, and counting

PAULO NOVAIS

A woman reacts during a fire in Pampilhosa da Serra, central of Portugal, 18 June 2017. At least sixty two people have been killed in forest fires in central Portugal, with many being trapped in their cars as flames swept over a road on the evening of 17 June 2017. A total of 733 firefighters are providing assistance.

Blazing fires in Portugal claim 61 lives, and counting


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Portugal is counting 61 victims from its ongoing forest fires that started on Saturday, including four children and four firefighters.

The toll may still rise as several people are still reported missing. Most victims died from smoke inhalation and burns, the BBC reports.

Interior Ministry official Jorge Gomes that at least 16 people were killed in their cars on a road between the towns of Figueiro dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera, Reuters reports.

More than 1600 firefighters battled with 156 fires on Saturday, with 18-aicraft and 400 vehicles. By Sunday afternoon, there only 11 fires with two of them seen as the most dangerous. France and Spain are offering more water-bombing aircraft and other countries are expected to follow.

Authorities believe the fire was sparked by a lightning strike, amidst rainless thunderstorms and temperatures of more than 40C.

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