(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Firefighters kept battling on Sunday (June 18) the flames in Pedrogao Grande, central Portugal, in an effort to prevent the fire from spreading.
The government sent two army battalions to help the emergency services in the Pedrogao Grande area, some 200 km northeast of Lisbon, and the European Union said it would provide firefighting aircraft.
The huge forest fire raging since Saturday (June 17) has killed at least 62 people, the government said on Sunday (June 18), in what is possibly the deadliest-ever forest blaze in the Atlantic coastal country, used to the woods burning almost every summer.
Jorge Gomes, the secretary of state for internal affairs said most of the victims were caught in their vehicles on the road.
Another 54 people have been injured and taken to hospitals, including four in serious condition.
Various local residents said they had been left to their own devices and had seen no firefighters for hours while their homes burned.
Others complained about poor forestry reserve planning and depopulation of remote villages, which leaves many wooded areas unattended.
The government declared three days of mourning.