After months of drought, one of its worst droughts in recent memory, huge fires occurred in woodland in the country's north in Portugal, Saturday, when temperatures exceeded 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in several regions. It is not yet known however what caused the fire. At least 25 people were killed and another 20 injured, including five firefighters.
Most of the victims burned in their cars. They found themselves trapped by flames on the road between Figueiro dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera. Several hundred firefighters and 160 vehicles were dispatched in the area. “The priority now is to save those people who could still be in danger. The number of fatalities could still rise,” prime minister Antonio Costa said.
Firefighters in Portugal
Water-dumping aircraft from Spain and France have joined Portugal's battle to halt the spread of wildfires through woodland in the country's north. About 60 forest fires broke out across the country overnight. A number of villages were affected by the fire and evacuation procedures had been put in place. President Marcelo Rebelo went to the Leiria region to meet families of the victims. Prime minister said a period of national mourning would be announced shortly. Portugal is a European country with highest forest fires density A series of fires last year devastated more than 100,000 hectares (1,000 square kilometers) of the mainland. Another fire occured on the tourist island of Madeira.
Raging forest fires in central Portugal have killed at least 62 people, the government said on Sunday.At least 59 were injured. The European Union said it would provide firefighting planes following a request from Lisbon.