Portugal in mourning as forest fires kill 62

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Portugal in mourning as forest fires kill 62
A wildfire is reflected in a stream at Penela, Coimbra, central Portugal, on June 18, 2017.

The European Union said it would provide firefighting planes.

By AFP

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Published: Sun 18 Jun 2017, 1:15 PM

Last updated: Mon 19 Jun 2017, 1:42 AM

Raging forest fires in Portugal have killed at least 62 people, most of whom burnt to death in their cars, the government said on Sunday, in one of the worst such disasters in recent history.

The fire broke out on Saturday in the municipality of Pedrogao Grande in central Portugal, before spreading fast across several fronts.

On Sunday afternoon, nearly 900 firefighters and 300 vehicles were still battling the blaze as scenes of devastation could be seen around the town.

“Unfortunately, this seems to be the greatest tragedy we have seen in recent years in terms of forest fires,” said a visibly moved Prime Minister Antonio Costa, who declared three days of mourning starting on Sunday.

The flowing expanse of hills situated between Pedrogao Grande, Figueiro do Vinhos to the west and Castanheira de Pera to the north, which 24 hours before had glowed bright green with eucalyptus plants and pine trees, were completely gutted by the flames. — AFP



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