'The greatest tragedy of recent years:' Forest fires in Portugal kill 60 4 years ago

'The greatest tragedy of recent years:' Forest fires in Portugal kill 60

Deadly forest fires in Portugal have left at least 60 people dead, as well as many dozens more injured and homeless.

Temperatures in the Pedrogao Grande region have topped 40C in recent days, with a lightning strike and arid conditions being blamed for igniting the deadly blaze.


Authorities in the area have said that many of the dead became trapped in their cars and engulfed in flames.

Portugal has declared three days of mourning in response with prime minister Antonio Costa describing the fire as "the biggest tragedy of human life that we have known in years".

Some 700 firefighters have been working to tackle the flames since Saturday. Nearby villages have been evacuated as a precaution.


Spain has lent its neighbour two water-bombing planes while the European Union has activated its civil protection efforts.

"Local television showed terrifying images of several people on a road trying to escape the intense smoke that had reduced visibility to a few metres," reports IrishTimes.com.

Valdemar Alves, mayor of Pedrogao Grande, said: "This is a region that has had fires because of its forests, but we cannot remember a tragedy of these proportions.

"I am completely stunned by the number of deaths."