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Most in Portugal’s forest fire died in cars

Portugal’s prime minister, Antonio Costa, said there had been 156 fires across the country over the weekend, with 11 still active, including two blazes that are “particularly problematic”. A young man shared a bottle of water with a distraught woman as she stumbled down the road.”We escaped in time, me on the tractor and he with our van”, Luisilda said.Portugal has been in the midst of a massive heatwave on Saturday, with temperatures in some areas hovering at around 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).”We want to send a big hug to everyone in Portugal for what they are going through, which is absolutely bad”.Another 59 people have been injured and taken to hospitals, including five in serious condition. “We were afraid the fire would reach us”.Images are coming out of Portugal of the aftermath of a fire that scorched a forested area in the center of the country over the weekend, leaving at least 61 dead, according to a spokesperson at Portugal’s interior ministry. A few others have died from smoke inhalation.Last year, thousands of firefighters battled at at least 12 huge fires across the country.A wildfire killed at least 62 people and injured dozens more in central Portugal, including many victims burned in their cars as they fled, officials said Sunday.Costa said that firefighting crews were having difficulties in approaching the area because the fire was “very intense”. As a result, Spain sent four firefighting aircrafts on Sunday.In addition to the Portuguese rescue teams that arrived from the cities of Coimbra, Setubal and Lisbon, two Spanish aircraft were aiding extinction efforts while the arrival of French support was also expected. He said authorities were anxious about strong winds that could help spreading the blaze further.The loss of life due to a forest fire is the biggest in memory in Portugal.Mariano Rajoy has tweeted that he is “overwhelmed by the tragedy at Pedrogao Grande”.Pope Francis prayed for the victims during his weekly prayer on Sunday.President Marcelo Rebelo went to the Leiria region to meet families of the victims, saying he was “sharing their pain in the name of all the Portuguese people”.