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>> Portugal's deadliest forest fire is still raging. At least 62 people have been killed, and more than 1,000 firefighters continued to battle the inferno on Monday. It started on Saturday morning, in the mountains, 200 kilometers northeast of Portugal's capital. Prime Minister, Antonio Costa, has called it the biggest human tragedy in the country in living memory.
Reuters Andre Calip in Lisbon says residents are used to small, summer blazes and didn't appreciate how serious this one was.>> Apparently, they stayed long enough for the fire to overwhelm them, so they panicked and got into their cars and tried to flee, which they normally wouldn't do, but that was just a strong fire.
Many were caught on the roads and either suffocated on smoke in their cars or just burned alive, which is a terrible, terrible tragedy.>> Light rain brought only modest relief to the shocked population and exhausted firefighters. Water planes including French and Spanish ones resuming their missions after stopping overnight.
The government insisting that the emergency response was swift and sufficient. But many think it could have been better, especially in a country used to major forest fires.>> Some residents say there's definitely lack of adequate strategic planning for the forestry reserves. Many villages have been depopulated and forest areas left untended, and that kind of provokes the fires in the first place.
>> Police say it probably started when lightning struck a tree. Regardless, a criminal investigation into the causes is also underway. Many forest fires in Portugal are caused by arson or carelessness.