Fire fighters close to bring deadly blaze under control

Fire fighters close to bring deadly blaze under control

"Winds should not be much of an issue [as Saturday], but localized wind issues are still possible, especially around the fire", Roys said.

Virgilio Godinho and his wife Isabel saw their small farm, together with their orchard, olive grove, vegetable garden, and pick-up truck go up in flames in the village of Vilas de Pedro.

The fire started on Saturday (17 June) after a lightning strike hit during an intense heatwave, where temperatures have soared to nearly 40C.

Following the devastating Portuguese wildfires which broke out across Pedrógão Grande over the weekend, a special relief concert is set to take place at the MEO Arena in the capital of Lisbon which will see a number of artists from across the nation taking to the stage in order to raise funds for the victims of the tragedy.

Armindo Antonio, 67, was evacuated with his family on Sunday evening by civil protection workers who came to his village. The country has declared three days of national mourning.

Emergency services in Portugal said Tuesday they were making good progress in controlling a major wildfire that killed 64 people in the central area of the country, while officials said reports that a water-dropping plane had crashed in the area of the blaze turned out to be false.

"Everything burnt very quickly given the strong winds". However, the regional prosecutor still ordered a criminal investigation into the causes.

Like more than half of the dead in Saturday's blaze, Daniel Starling jumped in his auto and raced away as the flames bore down.

"Low humidity, windy conditions and high temperatures will easily re-ignite the fire, and it will spread very fast", he said.

Portugal has lots of experience but seems short on equipment and finances. Water planes, including French and Spanish aircraft, flew overhead.

Not all of those reforms have come into force yet.

"In Portugal, the main factor in the scale of wildfires is the unbroken stretches of forest", said Prof.

"All of this is so hard to understand", said Antonio, whose five family members had been housed in a packed old-age home with other evacuees. Paulo Fernandes, a forest researcher at Portugal's Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro University.

Local residents too have stepped in to try to stop the blaze.

In 2015 and 2016, Portugal had some 50 firefighting aircraft at its disposal, majority rented. More than 2,000 firefighters and soldiers worked to combat the blazes.

Maria do Céu Silva has been praised for housing her neighbours in her water tank right next to the IC8 motorway - an area badly affected by the fire.

Press reports suggest the fire plan had not been revised for four years and that lawmakers had not considered it a priority. The worst previous loss of life was in 1966, when 25 Portuguese soldiers died fighting wildfires.