Tragedy in Portugal: 62 die in forest fire
62 dead, 62 injured is the register from the forest fire in central Portugal, where a fatal mixture of zero humidity, intense heat and wind created the perfect firestorm.
Pedrógão Grande. Early Saturday afternoon, district of Leiria in Central Portugal, a heavily forested area with mainly pine and eucalyptus trees. Temperature over 40 degrees Celsius (106F), tinder dry conditions. The fire was probably caused by a thunderstorm but the authorities are investigating.
To give an idea of the scale, 692 fire officers and 224 vehicles were used to combat the flames. 47 people were burnt to death in or beside their cars as the wind swept the flames across the road.
Forest fires are common in the heavily forested areas of Portugal but this is the worst tragedy in the last fifty years.