Two Brits treated after Portugal fires

Although the searing temperatures had dropped slightly yesterday, the fire was still raging, spreading to neighbouring regions of Castelo Branco and Coimbra.

The death toll was cut from 62 to 61 after a counting error, "but we will certainly find other victims on the ground" in searches from village to village, said Costa. Spain has dispatched two and France sent three water-bombing planes on Sunday morning to help the Portuguese fire service contain the fires.

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.

President Marcelo Rebelo went to the Leiria region to meet families of the victims, saying he was "sharing their pain in the name of all the Portuguese people".

Portuguese police detectives said forestry guards and investigators were able to determine the tree struck by lightning on Saturday during the dry thunderstorm in the Pedrogao Grande area.

"This is a region that has had fires because of its forests, but we can not remember a tragedy of these proportions", said Valdemar Alves, mayor of Pedrogao Grande.

Scorching weather, with temperatures above 40C (104F), as well as strong winds and dry woodland after weeks with little rain are fuelling the blazes.

According to the prime minister, just 11 fires are still active but he said the authorities were "particularly anxious about two of them".

"It was really hell".

"Nobody came. They were up in the mountain or somewhere else", she told The Associated Press.

The expanse of wooded hills in the area north of Lisbon, which 24 hours before had glowed bright green with eucalyptus plants and pine trees, was gutted by the flames.

[In the village of Mó Grande] 30 bodies were found inside cars, with another 17 next to the vehicles, on the N-236 road, which leads on to the IC8 motorway. The flames spread very quickly destroying several homes but at least half the victims were killed in their cars or on the road as they tried to escape and the fire closed in on them. Four firefighters remain in critical condition. France's foreign ministry said a French citizen was among those killed.

Boxes of donated food and drinks were outside the makeshift refuge, the air still reeking of smoke.

"We express our condolences to those that have lost loved ones", he said. "We were afraid the fire would reach us". "From what they say, the village is still closed", he said. "Near our village we have some relatives and we're trying to get in touch". The total number of injured in the region of the fire-which authorities said was 70 per cent under control-stood at 135 since Saturday.

About 60 forest fires broke out across the country during the night, with around 1,700 firefighters battling to put them out.

(CNN) - A raging wildfire ripped through central Portugal, killing 62 people and injured dozens more in what officials describe as the "greatest wildfire tragedy of recent years".

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