Vast Wildfire Kills 57 in Portugal

Raging Wildfire Engulfs Central Portugal

A vast wildfire has engulfed a central Portuguese town, killing 57 people and injuring dozens more in the European country.

Towering wildfire forced residents to flee, but some were trapped in their cars. Most of those were burned to death.

The victims included four firefighters who responded to the emergency call. Eight firefighters are among the dozens of injured, local media reports. Four firefighters remain in critical condition.

On Saturday, the inferno spread through the heavily wooded Pedrogão Grande municipality, about 100 miles from Lisbon.

The Battle Against The Wildfire Continues

Local officials feared the death toll may rise as as hundreds of firefighters continue to battle the blaze in Pedrogão Grande. The government deployed aircraft and 300 vehicles in the area to halt the raging wildfire.

In total, around 1,600 firefighters deployed in the mission to quell wildfires across the Portugal.

In addition, other European countries pledged to assist Portugal. France and Spain sent firefighting planes to help control the blaze.

Portugal forest wildfire.
A raging wildfire in Portugal.

The Culprit

This is not the first time a wildfire caused havoc in the country. In fact, thousands of firefighters battled at at least 12 huge fires there in 2016.

Also last year, a fierce wildfire caused massive evacuation in Portuguese island of Madeira. The blaze killed three people.

There was speculation a “dry thunderstorm” caused the wildfire in central Portugal, according to Portuguese media.

Dry thunderstorms are frequent when falling water evaporates before reaching the ground because of high temperatures,” wire services noted. “Portugal, like most southern European countries, is prone to forest fires in the dry summer months.”

Greatest Wildfire Tragedy

The severity of the outcome of the wildfire made a name in the country’s history. Government officials described it as the “greatest wildfire tragedy of recent years.”

The municipality’s president, Valdemar Alves, was stunned by the violent wildfire that left many people dead.

Alves said, “This is a region that has had fires because of its forests, but we cannot remember a tragedy of these proportions.”

He added, “I am shocked with this death toll.”

Mina Fabulous
Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn't preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.