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Death toll from wildfire in Portugal rises to 63

UPDATED: Mon., June 19, 2017

Firefighters of the Portuguese National Republican Guard work to stop a forest fire from reaching the village of Avelar, central Portugal, at sunrise Sunday, June 18 2017. (Armando Franca / Associated Press)
Firefighters of the Portuguese National Republican Guard work to stop a forest fire from reaching the village of Avelar, central Portugal, at sunrise Sunday, June 18 2017. (Armando Franca / Associated Press)
Associated Press

LISBON, Portugal – The death toll for the massive fire in central Portugal climbed to 63 on Monday after an injured firefighter died in hospital, the league of Portuguese firefighters said in their website.

The victim was one of four firefighters hospitalized at the Coimbra University Hospital since Sunday morning due to serious burns suffered during the first hours of the fight against the flames. A further two people were being treated for major injuries.

Portugal’s Interior minister said that 25 of the victims had been identified by Monday afternoon and that authorities were moving fast to complete all identifications.

Authorities say that altogether 135 people were treated as a result of the blaze, including 13 firefighters and one soldier.

The country’s Civil Protection department said that the battle against the flames is still very difficult in the Pedrogao Grande, where 1,100 soldiers and firefighters are working with hundreds of vehicles and dozens of aircraft. However, there are favorable signs in other areas of central Portugal also hit by wildfires, authorities said.

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