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Dozens killed in Portuguese forest fires

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Dozens of people have died in a number of forest fires in central Portugal, as temperatures pass 40C, reported Sky News (UK).

Portuguese radio station TSF said 25 people had been confirmed dead, with the government adding that many died in their cars as flames swept over a road.

Interior Ministry official Jorge Gomes said 16 people died in their cars between the towns of Figueiro dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera and three people died from smoke inhalation in Figueiro dos Vinhos.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa said: "Unfortunately this seems to be the greatest tragedy we have seen in recent years in terms of forest fires.
"The number of fatalities could still rise.
"The priority now is to save those people who could still be in danger."

A period of national mourning will be announced shortly, Mr Costa said.
About 20 people have been injured, 14 of them seriously.

Around 600 firefighters are battling the flames raging in the Pedrogao Grande area, which is about 93 miles northeast of the capital Lisbon.

Six firefighters are among those injured.
Spain has sent two water-bombing planes to help their neighbour fight the fires.

Some 60 forest fires broke out overnight on Saturday, as temperatures passed 40C in several regions.
A number of villages have been evacuated due to the danger but the extent of damage to property is not yet clear.

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Reporter: Denes Osvalt
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