Portuguese radio says 25 people killed in forest fires

Mr Gomes said at least 30 of those killed were in vehicles engulfed by flames on a road between the towns of Figueiro dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera.

A wildfire in Portugal overtook forests in central Portugal, leading to the death of at least 61 people as a result.

Portugal has declared three days of mourning as 62 people were declared killed by the fire, majority trapped in their cars by flames as treacherous wind drove the blaze beyond firefighters control.

A dry thunderstorm is a storm with thunder and lightning, with most or all the rain evaporating before reaching the ground.

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

Firefightes work to put out a forest fire near the village of Fato June 18, 2017.

A Portuguese interior ministry official says that the death toll in the forest fires raging in central Portugal has increased to 39.

PEDROGAO GRANDE, Portugal (AP) - 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.

Just over 1000 firefighters are still attending that blaze about 150 kilometers north of Lisbon.

A huge wall of thick smoke and bright red flames towered over the top of trees near houses in the wooded region.

I am not ashamed to say it: I was praying, we were all praying.

"Yesterday, we saw the fire but thought it was very far".

Police investigators stand by a burnt auto on the road between Castanheira de Pera and Figueiro dos Vinhos, central Portugal, Sunday, June 18 2017.

"It's the greatest tragedy of human lives that we've seen with forest fires in Portugal in the last few years", Prime Minister Antonio Costa said overnight in comments broadcast by television channel SIC Noticias. Government officials said an assessment will be made of the cause.

Another 54 people have been injured, including four firefighters and a child with serious injuries.

Portuguese Interior Minister Urbano de Sousa said that Portugal's judicial police was expected to finish the identification of the bodies soon and would release the list of them as early as possible.

The European Union has responded to a call for assistance to Portugal.

Spain sent four firefighting aircraft Sunday, France was sending three and Greece's prime minister also offered firefighting help.

The residents, several of whom are still battling the flames, have many complaints against the local authorities claiming that firefighters had a delayed response to the forest fire and that they were forced to defend themselves with their own supplies for many hours until help arrived.

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