Home Fire News Almost 2,000 firefighters deployed to quell Portugal inferno that killed 62

Almost 2,000 firefighters deployed to quell Portugal inferno that killed 62


Lisbon, Jun 19 (EFE).- Almost 2,000 firefighters continued Monday to battle the wildfire that has for days been ravaging central Portugal, leading to at least 62 deaths and as many injured, according to the latest data by civil protection units.

The fire, which began burning through the central region of Leiria on Saturday and has since spread to Coimbra and Castelo Branco, is thought to be the country’s deadliest ever.

The latest official data raised the death toll to 62, up from 61, and the number of wounded also to 62, of which two are in critical condition.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa warned Sunday that the death toll would probably rise further once emergency services gained access to villages which have been cut off by the flames.

The search for and identification of victims is being carried out village by village.

Two firefighting planes from Spain and extra resources from France are expected to arrive throughout the morning to help combat the flames.

A firefighter from Montemor-o-Novo, southern Portugal, takes a rest by the side of a road in Aguda, outside the village of Figueiro dos Vinhos central Portugal, Monday, June 19, 2017. More than 2,000 firefighters in Portugal battled Monday to contain major wildfires in the central region of the country, where one blaze killed 62 people, while authorities came under mounting criticism for not doing more to prevent the tragedy. (AP Photo/Paulo Duarte)

Large areas in the vicinity have been evacuated and hundreds of social services staff have been sent to help those affected.

The most likely cause of the wildfire is believed to be a lightning strike that hit a tree, with high temperatures and dry weather exacerbating the situation, police sources told EFE.

© 2017 EFE News Services (U.S.) Inc.

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