62 die in forest fire still raging in Portugal

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.

At least 62 people have already perished in the massive forest fires blazing throughout central Portugal over the past two days and the government declared six days of mourning.

Devastating and deadly fires have been affecting central Portugal over the weekend trapping many drivers as the flames literally engulfed auto after vehicle.

Portugal has suffered high temperatures that have reached 40 degrees Celsius (104 degress Fahrenheit) in recent days.

The flames spread during Saturday afternoon in a way that "has no explanation", Gomes said, after strong winds turned a low-scale fire into an uncontrollable wildfire.

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.

Civil protection commander Elisio Oliveira said the firefighting efforts were progressing well, but the fire was not yet under control.

Officials say 47 people died Saturday night on a road as they fled the flames.

"There is still a lot of forest that can burn and the rain does not make much difference", said Rui Barreto, deputy chief firefighter at the makeshift emergency services headquarters in Pedrogao Grande as thunder rolled through the skies over the ash-covered town. He said he drove around fallen trees and even off the road in his quest to reach safety. France was also sending three aircraft. As per the authorities and the local residents, the entire region is completely destroyed by the fire and it will take several months or even years to get things back to normal again.

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"It is hard to say if they were fleeing the flames or were taken by surprise", he said.

A spokesperson for the British Embassy in Lisbon told The Portugal News that following the fire in Pedrógão Grande, Leiria, the FCO updated its travel advice.

Firefighters continued their grim search for bodies.

"Some people stayed. Now we're waiting to see".

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

Other countries prone to forest fires have systems in place to warn people of danger. It has been over 50 years since 25 Portuguese soldiers perished fighting wildfires in 1966.

"We are most likely facing the biggest tragedy of human life that we have known", he said.

Modi condoles loss of lives: PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday condoled the loss of lives in the forest fires in Portugal. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy promised to provide any support necessary.

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