October 22, 2017
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European Union

Almost 2,000 firefighters deployed to quell Portugal inferno that killed 62

Lisbon, Jun 19 (efe-epa).- Almost 2,000 firefighters continued Monday to battle the wildfire that has for days been ravaging central Portugal, leading to at least 62 deaths and as many injured, according to the latest data by civil protection units.

The fire, which began burning through the central region of Leiria on Saturday and has since spread to Coimbra and Castelo Branco, is thought to be the country's deadliest ever.

The latest official data raised the death toll to 62, up from 61, and the number of wounded also to 62, of which two are in critical condition.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa warned Sunday that the death toll would probably rise further once emergency services gained access to villages which have been cut off by the flames.

The search for and identification of victims is being carried out village by village.

Two firefighting planes from Spain and extra resources from France are expected to arrive throughout the morning to help combat the flames.

Large areas in the vicinity have been evacuated and hundreds of social services staff have been sent to help those affected.

The most likely cause of the wildfire is believed to be a lightning strike that hit a tree, with high temperatures and dry weather exacerbating the situation, police sources told EFE.

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