Portuguese radio says 25 people killed in forest fires

A man stands on the roadside watching a wildfire at Anciao Leiria in central Portugal

The death toll released by Portuguese Secretary of State for Internal Affairs Jorge Gomes has gradually climbed from the 19 initially announced on Saturday.

The ceremony took place before the teams' match Sunday at the Confederations Cup tournament in Kazan, Russia.

One of multiple fires that spread in Portugal sent flames sweeping across a road, which reached motorists who became trapped in their cars.

Meanwhile, teams of psychologists have been deployed to attend to survivors, who were reportedly "in shock" and in many cases had lost relatives in the tragedy.

Several hundred firefighters and 160 vehicles were dispatched late on Saturday to tackle the fire, which broke out in the afternoon in the municipality of Pedrógão Grande before spreading fast across several fronts. Bodies found inside cars.

However, the country has been reeling from the effects of a heatwave, with the mercury soaring above 40 degrees Celsius on Saturday.

Drone video still shows cars on the road IC8 between Pedrogao Grande and Figeiro Dos Vinhos after a forest fire, in Portugal, June 18, 2017. I never thought it would come to this side.

Of the victims, 59 people were killed from flames or smoke inhalation and two more were killed in a road accident trying to flee the blaze, according the spokesperson Aicha El Hammar.


"I express my closeness to the beloved people of Portugal following the devastating fire", Francis said.

PM Costa said that the fire fighting crews are having difficulty approaching the area because the fires are "very intense".

The European Union said it had activated its civil protection efforts responding to a call for assistance by Portuguese authorities.

He said investigations are ongoing to determine the cause, but authorities believe the high temperatures may have played a part.

Some people died, poisoned by smoke and carbon monoxide gases. "It is an authentic inferno, we have never seen anything like that", the mayor of Pedrogao Grande Valdemar Alves told reporters. France is sending three planes, while Spain has sent several firefighting aircraft.

President Marcelo Rebelo went to the Leiria region to meet families of the victims, saying he was "sharing their pain in the name of all the Portuguese people".

The number of victims of a massive forest fire in Portugal reached 43 people. According to local reports, more than 50 people have been killed so far.

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