Two Britons treated for burns after Portuguese forest fires

Xavier Trudeau
Juin 19, 2017

Portuguese radio station TSF said 25 people had been confirmed dead, with the government adding that many died in their cars as flames swept over a road.

Some 60 forest fires broke out as temperatures passed 40C in several regions.

About 600 firefighters were still battling the blaze in the area and 1,700 in the the nation Sunday.

Authorities have declared three days of mourning starting on Sunday. Pedrógão Grande is about 120 miles north of Lisbon.

The death toll could rise further as many people remain missing, he warned.

High temperatures and a lack of rainfall were major factors that allowed the flames to spread very quickly, thus trapping numerous people attempting to flee Pedrogao by auto.

At least 18 people died on the N-236, a road linking Figueiro dos Vinhos to Castanheira de Pera, according to Secretary of State for the Interior Jorge Gomes.

The mayor of Pedrogao Grande, Valdemar Alves, said that some villages had been "completely surrounded by flames" as quoted in the Publico newspaper.

The forest fire that occurred yesterday in this region of central Portugal has also caused injuries to 50 people, many of whom are firefighters.

France has offered three firefighting planes, while Spain has already sent two water-bombing aircraft to help tackle the fires.

The government fears that the causality numbers may raise as the fire officials inspect the villages affected.

"There are people who arrived saying they didn't want to die in their homes", Ricardo Tristao told AFP.

At least 59 were injured, including four firefighters and an 8-year-old child found wandering with burns, the Correio do Manhã newspaper reported. Shocked residents said a whole family that was trying to flee their home in a vehicle had been caught in "a tornado of flames". "The Portuguese people can count on our solidarity, support and care". "We have even managed to find the tree that was struck by the lightning", Rodrigues said.

Various local residents said they had been left to their own devices and had seen no firefighters for hours while their homes burned. "I express my closeness to the beloved people of Portugal following the devastating fire", Francis said.

Portugal was hit by a series of fires past year which devastated more than 1,000 square kilometres of the mainland. He said 17 others died right outside their cars or by the road, 11 people died in the forest, two people died in a auto accident related to the fire and information was missing on the other deaths.

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