Forest Fires Just Ravaged Central Portugal

The Background

A fast-spreading fire ripped through a small town in central Portugal, killing 60 and leaving hundreds more homeless. The blaze began late Saturday night in the municipality of Pedrógão Grande and continued well into Sunday morning, as surrounding countries sent support to help contain the flames. Spain sent two water-bombing planes and France sent three to assist the hundreds of Portuguese firefighters that were trying to limit the devastation. With temperatures in Portugal reaching a season high of 40°C (104°F), the fire in Pedrógão Grande was one of more than 60 forest fires that broke out Saturday night in the region. Guardian

What Else You Need to Know

Portugal’s prime minister, António Costa, called the fire “the greatest tragedy we have seen in recent years in terms of forest fires” and told the country to prepare for the death toll to rise in coming days. Portugal will be in a state of mourning for the next three days, as citizens remember those who lost their lives and emergency services continue to search the area for victims. Spain has offered their support to the Portuguese, with their prime minister tweeting, “Stunned by the tragedy in Pedrógão Grande. The Portuguese people can depend on our solidarity, support and affection.”