Huge forest fires in Portugal have killed more than 60 people.
Many died in their cars as they fled from huge blaze amid severe heatwave on Iberian peninsula.
At least 62 people have been killed in huge forest fires in central Portugal, many dying in their cars as they tried to flee the flames.
This is the greatest tragedy Portugal has experienced in recent years in terms of forest fires. The president explains, the death toll could rise. Three days of national mouring were declared.
The actual situation
Several hundred firefighters and 160 vehicles were dispatched late on Saturday to tackle the fire, which broke out in the municipality of Pedrógão Grande before spreading fast.
About 60 forest fires took hold across Portugal on Saturday night, with 1,700 firefighters battling to put them out.
Dry thunderstorms could have been the cause, according to Costa. The government said it was unlikely that the fires had been started deliberately.
Dozens of people who fled their homes were taken in by residents of the nearby municipality of Ansião. A number of villages were affected by the main fire and evacuation procedures had been put in place for some of them.
The Iberian peninsular is sweltering under a severe heatwave, with temperatures exceeding 40C (104F) in some regions.
Spain dispatched two water-bombing planes on Sunday morning to aid the Portuguese fire service, while France sent three aircraft.
The Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, promised to provide any assistance necessary, tweeting: “Stunned by the tragedy in Pedrógão Grande. The Portuguese people can depend on our solidarity, support and affection.”
The president of the European commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, tweeted: “My thoughts are with the victims in Portugal. I commend the bravery of the firefighters. EU civil protection mechanism activated and will help.”
In Rome, Pope Francis led thousands of people in silent prayer for the victims of what he called the “devastating fire” in Portugal, while the Portuguese football team offered its “deepest sympathies to the families, friends and loved ones of the victims of the fires”.
A burning hell is currently sweeping across Portugal. via The Guardian