Published: Sun, June 18, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

Portuguese radio says 25 people killed in forest fires

Portuguese radio says 25 people killed in forest fires

"Nineteen deaths have been confirmed, all of them civilians".

Some 60 forest fires broke out overnight on Saturday, as temperatures passed 40C in several regions.

Mariano Rajoy tweeted that he is "overwhelmed by the tragedy at Pedrogao Grande". At least 59 were injured.

A senior official, Joao Gomes, said the fire spread in a way "that defies explanation", highlighting the difficulties rescue and emergency workers were having in gaining access to the affected areas.

Hundreds of firefighters are on the scene, but intense heat and strong winds have made it extremely hard to contain the blaze.

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said that Spanish rescuers would assist in efforts to control the blazes.

A policeman stands by a covered body on a dirt road outside Pedrogao Grande, central Portugal, Sunday, June 18 2017.

Both France and Spain have offered support, sending water-bombing planes to tackle the fires.

He added a period of national mourning would be announced shortly. 'I commend the bravery of the firefighters.

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Approximately 600 firefighters and 160 vehicles have been fighting the blaze.

Dozens of people who fled their homes were taken in by residents of the nearby municipality of Ansiao.

Several fire fighters are reported to be among about 20 people injured.

Portugal's soccer team has expressed its condolences for the victims of forest fires that have claimed at least 57 lives.

The fires come amid a heatwave in Portugal which has seen temperatures soar to 40C in recent days.

Portugal was hit by a series of fires previous year which devastated more than 100,000 hectares (1,000 square kilometres) of the mainland.

Three people were killed and over 1,000 evacuated in the Portuguese island of Madeira due to the fierce wildfires a year ago.

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