Pope Francis prays for Portugal forest fire victims

June 18, 2017 14:15
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Breaking news. (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)

Pope Francis on Sunday prayed for the victims of what is possibly the deadliest-ever single forest blaze in Portugal.

The forest fire raging since Saturday in central Portugal has killed at least 57 people, a government official said on Sunday.

The pope, conducting his weekly Angelus prayer at the Vatican, said he was close to the Portuguese people as he led the huge crowds in St. Peter's Square into a silent prayer.

The blaze on Saturday hit the mountainous area of Pedrogao Grande, 200 km Northeast of Lisbon, amid an intense heat wave and rainless thunderstorms. Police said a lightning striking a tree probably caused the fire.

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