Portugal: At least 62 people killed in forest fires northeast of Lisbon

Our condolences go to the relatives and friends of at least 62 persons(including four children) who have died in a huge forest fire to the north east of Lisbon, as well as over 60 who have been injured including six firefighters.

The Prime Minister will decree this Sunday national mourning.

A huge forest fire in central Portugal has killed at least 62 people and injured over 60 others, most of them burning to death in their cars, the government said this morning (Sunday 18th June).

Several hundred firefighters and 160 vehicles were dispatched late on Saturday to tackle the blaze, which broke out in the afternoon in the municipality of Pedrogao Grande before spreading fast across several fronts.

IMPORTANT UPDATE 10.16 HRS. SCP have contacted ANPC and have requested whether any special telephone number has been set up so loved ones can enquire about missing relatives. They have informed us that all enquiries should be made through respective Embassies of the nationalities concerned. Enquiries can be directed at the ANPC national headquarters in Lisbon for Portuguese who may be missing on 214247100.

Concerning missing British nationals the area can contact the FCO Global Response Centre through the Embassy in Lisbon at (351) 213924000 press 1 for English and then 4 to be contacted to the centre.

Latest news

Earlier this Sunday morning, the fire still burns with great intensity. 7:05 am – According to the Civil Protection 682 operational, supported by 219 vehicles, are mobilized to fight the flames in the Pedrógão grande. The fire remains out of control. Very near there, a fire in Góis a total of 387 operational and 118 vehicles have been mobilized

A field hospital is set up in the next few hours and reinforcements are coming in to fight the fire. The fire has already passed to the municipality of Figueiró dos Vinhos, also in the district of Leiria.

According to Lusa, several fire engines were destroyed by fire. The forest fire is threatening several houses in Pedrogão Grande.

Due to the flames, the GNR closed some roads of the zone, among them, Itinerario Complementar 8 (IC8), in the exits of the industrial area of ​​Pedrógão Grande and Outão. The forest fire is threatening several houses in Pedrogão Grande.

Due to the flames, the GNR closed some roads of the zone, among them, Itinerario Complementar 8 (IC8), in the exits of the industrial area of ​​Pedrógão Grande and Outão. The forest fire is threatening several houses in Pedrogão Grande. Due to the flames, the GNR closed some roads of the zone, among them, Itinerario Complementar 8 (IC8), in the exits of the industrial area of ​​Pedrógão Grande and Outão.

More details of the incident 

“Unfortunately this seems to be the greatest tragedy we have seen in recent years in terms of forest fires,” the visibly moved Prime Minister Antonio Costa said.

“The number of fatalities could still rise,” he said at the Civil Protection headquarters near Lisbon. “The priority now is to save those people who could still be in danger.”

Portugal was sweltering under a severe heatwave on Saturday, with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in several regions.

Around 60 forest fires broke out across the country during the night, with 1,700 firefighters battling to put them out.

Secretary of state for the interior Jorge Gomes said earlier that 22 people burned to death in their cars when they found themselves trapped by flames on the road between Figueiro dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera.

Three others died from smoke inhalation. Sixteen people were injured, including five firefighters. Two of those were seriously injured.

The flames spread “with great violence”, moving out on four fronts, Gomes said.

Dry thunderstorms could have been the cause of the fatal blaze, according to the prime minister.

A number of villages were affected by the main fire and evacuation procedures had been put in place for some of them, Costa added. Officials were not immediately able to comment on the extent of the damage.

Spain dispatched two water-bombing planes on Sunday morning to aid the Portuguese fire service on the ground, the prime minister said.

Costa said a period of national mourning would be announced shortly.

President Marcelo Rebelo went to the Leiria region to meet families of the victims, “sharing their pain in the name of all the Portuguese people,” he said. Firefighters did “all they could” when faced with the blaze, he added.

 

“Unfortunately this seems to be the greatest tragedy we have seen in recent years in terms of forest fires,” the visibly moved Prime Minister Antonio Costa said.

“The number of fatalities could still rise,” he said at the Civil Protection headquarters near Lisbon. “The priority now is to save those people who could still be in danger.”

Portugal was sweltering under a severe heatwave on Saturday, with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in several regions.

Around 60 forest fires broke out across the country during the night, with 1,700 firefighters battling to put them out.

 

President Marcelo Rebelo went to the Leiria region to meet families of the victims, “sharing their pain in the name of all the Portuguese people,” he said. Firefighters did “all they could” when faced with the blaze, he added.


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