Portugal blaze: At least 25 killed by huge wildfire – with death toll expected to rise
Most of the people killed by the inferno were trapped in their vehicles as the wind left firefighters unable to tackle the blaze.
The Portuguese government confirmed all the deceased victims were members of the public, as firefighters still battle the ongoing fire in the the wooded mountain area of Pedrogão Grande, south of Coimbra.
Two firefighters are missing while four of their colleagues are in a serious condition in hospital.
Secretary of state Jorge Gomes said 16 casualties were killed in their cars after the blaze made its way onto a road, while three more were killed by smoke inhalation.
Twenty-one people were being treated in for injuries.
The cause of the fire remains unknown but erupted at 2pm local time on Saturday.
Several fire engines were destroyed in the blaze and several roads remain closed.
A staggering 500 firefighters had been dispatched to help bring the fire under control.
Portugal prime minister Antonio Costa said: “It’s the biggest tragedy in recent years. We have to find out what happened.”
President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa the “wind and high temperatures” made tackling the blaze difficult.
The current death toll is the largest wildfire death in Portugal since 1966, when 25 soldiers were killed in the Sintra forest.