Central Portugal has been ravaged by a catastrophic forest fire in which at least 62 people have lost their lives.
More than 70 people have been injured, including some of the firefighters who were doing their best to help the people hit by this tragedy. Many victims were trapped in their cars as flames swept over the road.
The Prime Minister Antonio Costa stated this is ‘the biggest tragedy of human life that we have known in years’.
700 firefighters have been trying to handle the situation and contain the flames since Saturday. The situation has escalated to massive proportions, and the fire is no closer to being contained despite the hard work by the authorities.
At least 6 firefighters have been severely wounded and 2 are reported missing. According to the national broadcasters, many areas affected by the fire had not yet been reached by authorities, so the death toll and the number of injured are expected to increase.
This area of Portugal has experienced forest fires before, but never in this scale and proportions, said Valdemar Alves, the mayor of Pedrógão Grande. The recent heatwave in Portugal brought temperatures higher than 104F (40C) in some areas.
The Portuguese officials stated this fire was started with a dry lightning strike, and with no recent rainfall, the heavily-forested area quickly caught on the raging fire. Unfortunately, with a situation of such proportions, getting it under control is beyond the human factor, with factors of high temperatures and strong winds, it is very much in the hands of Mother Nature.