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A wildfire is reflected in a stream at Penela, Coimbra
At least 43 people have been killed in forest fires in central Portugal, many of them trapped in their cars as flames swept over a road.

The deaths happened as blazes rage in the Pedrogao Grande area, about 93 miles north east of Lisbon.

Around 600 firefighters were trying to put out the blazes, which started on Saturday.

Interior Ministry official Jorge Gomes said 16 people died in their cars on a road between the towns of Figueiro dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera and three died from smoke inhalation in Figueiro dos Vinhos.

Public broadcaster RTP said there were about 20 injured, including six firefighters. Fourteen of the injured were in a serious condition.



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Firefighters work to put out a forest fire near Bouca, in central Portugal
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A forest fire is seen near Tojeira, Pedrogao Grande
Prime Minister Antonio Costa called it a 'tragedy of a big dimension'.

He said authorities were working on identifying the victims and Spanish rescuers would help efforts to put out the fires.

Televised images showed a huge wall of flames leaping over the top of trees in the wooded region.

Portugal has suffered high temperatures that have reached 40C (104F) in recent days.

It is prone to forest fires in the dry summer months.
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A firefighter stands on top of a fire combat truck during a wildfire at Penela, Coimbra

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A man stands on the roadside watching a wildfire at Anciao, Leiria