BREAKING: Massive Wildfire Leaves Over 100 Dead And Injured – Death Toll Expected To Rise

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Dean James III% AMERICA’S FREEDOM FIGHTERS –

A MASSIVE forest fire raging since Saturday in central Portugal has killed at least 62 people, many of them dying in their cars as they tried to flee, according to reports.

Another 54 people have been injured and taken to hospitals, including four firefighters and a seriously injured minor.

Interior Ministry official Jorge Gomes said at least 16 people were killed when their vehicles were engulfed by flames on a road between the towns of Figueiro dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera, Sky News reported.

“The smoke cloud is very low, which does not allow helicopters and fire planes to work efficiently, but we’re doing everything possible and impossible to put out this fire, ” he said.

A lightning strike is believed to have sparked the blaze in the Pedrogao Grande area after investigators found a tree that was hit during a “dry thunderstorm,” the head of the national judicial police told Portuguese media. Dry thunderstorms are frequent when falling water evaporates before reaching the ground because of high temperatures. Authorities had previously said that 104 F heat in recent days might have played a part in the inferno about 95 miles northeast of Lisbon. About 700 firefighters have been trying to put out the fires since Saturday, Gomes said.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa called the recent fires “the biggest tragedy of human life that we have known in years.”

The prime minister said the emergency services acted as fast as they could but acknowledged that some of the efforts like alerting the population might have been hindered because the blaze had ruined phone lines and communications towers, Reuters reported.

“What happened was cables and communications towers were destroyed by the fire, even their first replacements melted,” he said. “But nothing compromised the firefighting efforts.”

He said that firefighting crews were having difficulties in approaching the area because the fire was “very intense.”

Most communications have been restored, but Costa called on residents listen to the radio and heed any official advice.

The European Union has activated its civil protection efforts to help Portugal extinguish the fires. EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides expressed his condolences for the victims in a statement, saying the “EU is fully ready to help.”

Stylianides says that in response to a request for help by Portugal, Spain and France are both sending aircraft to help fight the flames. France is sending three planes, while Spain has sent several firefighting aircraft, including two water-bombing planes, to help fight the fires.

Devastating.

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