June 18, 2017 / 8:36 AM / 7 months ago

Death toll from Portugal forest fire climbs to 43

LISBON, June 18 (Reuters) - A forest fire raging since Saturday in central Portugal has killed at least 43 people, a government official said on Sunday, in what is possibly the deadliest-ever single forest blaze in Portugal.

The death toll released by Jorge Gomes, the secretary of state for internal affairs, has climbed from the 19 initially announced late on Saturday. Gomes said then most of the victims were occupants of various vehicles that were on the road and caught in the blaze

The blaze on Saturday hit the mountainous area of Pedrogao Grande, 200 km southeast of Lisbon, amid an intense heat wave and rainless thunderstorms.

Reporting By Andrei Khalip, editing by Larry King

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