Deadly forest fires in Portugal claim the lives of 57

The intense heat in the country has resulted in a wave of fires. The death toll from the fires is currently at 57 but the number is expected to rise as over 10 people fight for their lives at local hospitals.
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The wave of forest fires in central Portugal, which broke out due to an intense heat wave, has claimed the lives of dozens of people. According to local reports, more than 50 people have been killed so far. Most of the victims were killed as they attempted to flee the forests in their cars on Sunday.

Portugal’s Secretary of State for Internal Affairs Jorge Gomes said that at least 16 people were killed in their cars on the road between the towns of Figueiro dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera. Others died due to smoke inhalation in the villages between the two cities. “Everything here is forest and therefore I’m familiar with fires,” a local resident said. “But I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Flames rise during a forest fire in Pedrogao Grande Photo Credit: EPA

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said: “Unfortunately, we are witnessing the greatest tragedy of fires that we’ve known in recent years.” He warned that the death toll is expected to rise, adding that at least 14 people are fighting for their lives at local hospitals.

Meanwhile, 600 firefighters continue to battle the flames that are raging about 150 kilometers (about 93 miles) northeast of Lisbon. Spain has sent firefighting aircraft in order to assist in the efforts to put out the fires. Local news agencies are reporting that the intense heat wave, which included temperatures above 40 degrees C (104 degrees F), resulted in more than 60 fires.

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