One of the deadliest forest fires known as the history of Portugal has caused more than 60 deaths, many of whom are trapped in cars trying to flee the area. Winds, dry air and temperatures of 104 degrees Fahrenheit exacerbated the situation of firefighters, who still fought the flames in the heart of Pedrógão Grande. Prime Minister Antonio Coros called it "the worst tragedy in human life we have known in recent years."
It is said that "dry thunderstorm" has triggered a fire. This phenomenon occurs when the ground water evaporates due to high temperatures. Investigators found that a tree struck by lightning was considered a fire Saturday about 100 miles northeast of Lisbon. Fire spread to the area, with 11 areas being monitored for fires on Sunday.
Interior Ministry official Jorge Gomes said at least 30 of the dead were killed on a forest road between Figueiro dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera towns. There, the fire burned their homes and burned rows of escaped cars.
More than 350 soldiers and about 1,600 firefighters were fighting a fire and the fire spread to five clear fires. Prime Minister Costa said the emergency services responded as soon as possible, but acknowledged that the alarms from nearby communities may have slowed down due to the burning of some phone lines and towers. The EU said it is sending firefighting planes and France and Spain also provide their own planes.
Fires in the summer are common in this area, but recently the area has experienced a heat wave and the drying wind is getting worse. Last August, four people were killed in a fire, three of whom were on Madeira Island. Another deadliest fire was in 1966, when 25 Portuguese soldiers died in a fire.