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Portuguese radio says 25 people killed in forest fires

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A man on the balcony of a house looks up at a forest fire raging on a hillside above the village of Avelar central Portugal before sunrise Sunday

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

Majority were inside their vehicles when they tried to flee the Pedrógão Grande area, 30 miles south-east of Coimbra, but were caught in the blaze. He said there was no information on the other two deaths.

"This tragic situation took place in only one of the fires, particularly at a road next to it", Costa told reporters.

The Iberian peninsula is sweltering under a severe heatwave, with temperatures exceeding 40C (104F) in several regions.

Three days of national mourning have been declared.

Sixteen people died in their cars on a road between the towns of Figueiro dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera, while 23 others have been killed elsewhere, Interior Ministry official Jorge Gomes said.

Around 1,600 firefighters have been desperately battling wildfires that broke out in central Portugal early Sunday morning.

Schools in the area were closed until further notice and outdoor fires were banned, authorities announced Sunday.

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Pope Francis began his Angelus prayer by invoking the tragedy.

The prime minister said the emergency services acted as fast as they could but acknowledged that some of the efforts like alerting the population might have been hindered because the blaze had ruined phone lines and communications towers.

Portugal's team is in Russian Federation, where it is set to start the Confederations Cup later on Sunday against Mexico.

"All will be done to assist the authorities and people of Portugal at this time of need", European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Christos Stylianides said in a statement. France was also sending three aircraft, said the report. Mariano Rajoy tweeted that he is "overwhelmed by the tragedy at Pedrogao Grande".

President Marcelo Rebelo went to the Leiria region to meet families of the victims, saying he was "sharing their pain in the name of all the Portuguese people".

A horrific forest fire in Portugal has killed 57 people, officials say.

As reported by The New York Post, Isabel Brandao, a resident in the area, said she feared for her life when she saw the fire coming. "If it had rained, this would not happen". "But I've never seen anything like this". "I don't want to talk yet about the cause of the fire because we are facing the greatest tragedy of human lives". According to an initial analysis by the Judicial Police, the fire was caused by a dry thunderstorm, Gomes said.

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