After 4 days, Portugal contains wildfire that killed 64

AP News
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Posted: Jun 21, 2017 12:10 PM
After 4 days, Portugal contains wildfire that killed 64

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — A wildfire that killed 64 people last weekend has been brought under control, Portuguese authorities said Wednesday as a minute of silence was held in memory of victims of the country's deadliest natural disaster in decades.

"The fire is no longer progressing," Civil Protection Agency spokesman Vitor Vaz Pinto said, adding that hundreds of firefighters would remain on the scene to prevent it from reigniting.

Since Saturday, more than 1,000 firefighters and more than a dozen water-dropping aircraft were deployed to tackle the blaze that had raged across the central region of Portugal, about 150 kilometers (95 miles) north of Lisbon.

Some of the personnel and equipment was sent by other European Union countries and Morocco.

Cooler temperatures and weaker winds also helped firefighters make progress against a nearby wildfire in Gois. There, about 1,100 firefighters supported by 14 water-dropping aircraft battled the flames, which officials said they expected to extinguish by Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, members of the government and lawmakers stood in silence outside the parliament building in Lisbon at 1 p.m. (1200 GMT.) President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and members of the emergency services gathered near Pedrogao Grande, where the main blaze broke out.

Portugal had already observed three days of national mourning.