Portugal Mourns Following Wildfire Tragedy
A forest fire raging since Saturday in central Portugal has killed at least 61 people, most dying in their cars while trying to flee.
Anabela Silva stands in front of her house with her burnt car in the background after a wildfire swept through Figueiro dos Vinhos on June 18, 2017.
Portugal declared three days of national mourning on Sunday as Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa called the disaster "the biggest tragedy of human life that we have known in years."
The wildfire raged across central Portugal, with authorities saying 61 have been killed so far and 59 more injured. Most of those killed burned to death in their cars, the government said on June 18, after the flames swept over the road faster than they could escape. Several hundred firefighters and 160 vehicles were dispatched late on June 17 to tackle the blaze, which broke out in the afternoon in the municipality of Pedrogao Grande, Leiria District, Center of Portugal, before spreading fast across several fronts.
Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Sunday evening that the death toll is likely to continue to rise as rescue officers search seared land for victims.
A burnt car rests in front of a house after its brush with the wildfire in Figueiro dos Vinhos on June 18.
Red Cross and police evacuate resident from their homes near the dangerous wildfire at Torgal, Castanheira de Pera on June 18.
A man passes by his burnt truck in Figueiro dos Vinhos on June 18.
A firefighter removes a hose on June 18.
Local residents, some with masks on their faces, wait out the wildfire near Torgal on June 18.
Two women cover their faces against the smoke while fleeing the wildfire threatening the village of Torgal on June 18.
Portuguese Republican National Guard soldiers fight the fire in Capela Sao Neitel, Alvaiazere, central Portugal on June 18.
A firefighter helps a woman in Pedrogao Grande on June 17.
National Guard soldiers battle the fire in Capela Sao Neitel on June 18.
Firefighters work to stop the fire from reaching the village of Avelar, in central Portugal, at sunrise on June 18.
A policeman stands by the body of a victim in Pedrogao on June 18.
Burnt cars and body bags lay on the N236 road between Figueiro dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera on June 18.
Firefighters rest at Penela, Coimbra, central Portugal on June 18.
A man stands on the roadside and watches the wildfire at Anciao, Leiria, central Portugal on June 18.
A house burns in Figueira, near Pedrogao Grande on June 17.
Firefighters work to put out the fire near Bouca, in central Portugal on June 18.