The Latest on the Portugal forest fires (all times local) :
LISBON, Portugal (AP) – The Latest on the Portugal forest fires (all times local) : 11: 55 p.m. Portuguese Interior Minister Constanca Urbano de Sousa said the death toll in a forest fire had risen to 62 by the end of Sunday. She said firefighters were still working on all four fronts of the fire. Authorities had previously lowered the number of victims, saying that one body had been counted for twice, but the minister later confirmed that the official toll returned to 62. Urbano de Sousa also said the country’s judicial police was expecting to complete the identification of all bodies soon in order to release them as early as possible. Authorities were overwhelmed with food and water donations for those affected and the emergency services working in the areas near Pedrogao Grande, in central Portugal. ___ 8: 50 p.m. Portugal’s president says the country’s pain “knows no end” as it mourns at least 61 people killed in the deadliest wildfire in memory. President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa says in a televised address to the nation that “it is a time of pain but also… a time to carry on the fight” against the flames. Almost 24 hours after Saturday night’s deaths, the blaze was still raging across the forested hills of central Portugal. In his broadcast Sunday, the head of state offered the emergency services his “endless thanks” for tackling the blaze and helping to rescue people in the fire’s path. Almost 900 firefighters were still battling the flames around Pedrogao Grande, a town 150 kilometers (95 miles) northeast of Lisbon. Three other major fires in the region are also causing concern, with five villages evacuated. ___ 6: 25 p.m. Portugal’s prime minister says the death toll in the country’s deadliest wildfire in memory is likely to rise. Prime Minister Antonio Costa said Sunday that 61 deaths are confirmed but, “for sure, we are going to find some more victims.” The wind-fueled blaze swept through the area around Pedrogao Grande, a town 150 kilometers (95 miles) northeast of Lisbon. Authorities say police are looking for bodies among the numerous isolated houses in the hills around Pedrogao Grande, which are thick with pine and eucalyptus forests. Interior Minister Constanca Urbano de Sousa says “extremely adverse” weather conditions are preventing the fire being contained. Giant clouds of smoke punctuated the horizon as the sun set. Strong winds, temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius and tinder-dry forests have fueled the fire, which started Saturday. Officials say reinforcements, including more firefighters, water-dumping planes and army units, were due to arrive Monday ___ 5: 05 p.m. Portugal’s prime minister says the death toll has been lowered in the country’s deadly forest fire to 61. Prime Minister Antonio Costa said Sunday that death toll was reduced from the previously reported 62 people because one victim had been counted twice by authorities. He said “the dimension of this fire has caused a human tragedy beyond any in our memory.” Many of the victims died as they tried to flee the fire northeast of Lisbon in their cars. ___ 4: 25 p.m. Portugal’s national soccer team is wearing black arm bands and has stood for a moment of silence with the Mexican team in solidarity with the country’s forest fire victims. The ceremony took place before the teams’ match Sunday at the Confederations Cup tournament in Kazan, Russia. Coach Fernando Santos, Cristiano Ronaldo and the rest of the players released a statement saying “in this sad hour, we send our deepest sympathies to the families, friends and loved ones of the victims of the fires.” FIFA President Gianni Infantino, attending the match, also offered his condolences. He says “we want to send a big hug to everyone in Portugal for what they are going through, which is absolutely terrible. There are no words for that.” Officials say 62 people have died in a raging forest fire northeast of Lisbon, most while trying to flee in their cars. ___ 3: 50 p.m. Greece’s prime minister has offered his Portuguese colleague Antonio Costa help in fighting the deadly wildfires in his country. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called Costa on Sunday afternoon to offer his condolences for the 62 victims of the forest fire northeast of Lisbon and to offer the support of the Greek people. His statement says Tsipras “also emphasized that Greece will offer any help necessary to fight the fires.” Greece experienced its deadliest fires a decade ago. From June to September 2007,84 people died in Greek wildfires, including 67 in a blaze that torched 1,500 square kilometers (370,000 acres) of forest and farmland in southern Greece. ___ 2: 55 p.m. Portuguese officials say most of the 62 people who died in the forest fire north of Lisbon were trying to flee the inferno in their cars. The forest fire began Saturday in the Pedrogao Grande area, 150 kilometers (95 miles) northeast of Lisbon. Interior Ministry official Jorge Gomes said Sunday that at least 30 people died inside their cars as they tried to flee. He says 17 others died right outside their cars or by the road, 11 people died in the forest and two people died in a car accident related to the fire. He said there was no information on the other two deaths. So far, no one has been reported killed by the fire inside a house. Gomes says 54 people have also been injured, 5 of them seriously, including four firefighters and a minor. Temperatures in the area have hit 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in recent days. ___ 1: 30 p.m. Portugal has declared three days of national morning as the forest fire death toll has reached 62. Interior Ministry official Jorge Gomes has told state broadcaster RTP that the number of victims from the flames and suffocating smoke has reached 60, while another two people perished in a traffic accident related to the fires. The government has declared Sunday through Tuesday national days of mourning for the victims of a fire “which has caused an irreparable loss of human life.” The government also says that 360 soldiers are joining the 700 firefighters struggling to put out the blaze that started on Saturday. The tragedy is the worst in recent memory in the southern European country, which often suffers wildfires during the hot and dry summer months. ___ 12: 25 p.m. The European Commission says it is working with EU member states to respond to the call for assistance issued overnight by Portuguese authorities in order to fight the forest fire in central Portugal that has claimed 57 lives so far. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker sent a letter to Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, expressing “profound sadness” for the fire in Pedrogao Grande and offering “most felt solidarity.” Juncker wrote in the letter that “Our thoughts are with all the victims, their families and all the brave soldiers of peace that in a very difficult terrain and under challenging circumstances continue to fight this terrible fire.” ___ 12 p.m. Portugal’s prime minister has thanked the hundreds of firefighters combating forest fires that have killed at least 57 people. Antonio Costa tweeted his “deepest regret for the victims… and a word of encouragement and strength for all who help combat this scourge.” He added “I am so thankful to the firefighters and other professions who are giving their all for the security of each of us by fighting the fires.” Also, Spain says it is sending two water-dumping aircraft to help neighboring Portugal fight the blaze that has raged since Saturday night. ___ 11: 30 a.m. Pope Francis has led thousands of people in a moment of silent prayer for the victims of the Portugal fire.

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