Main forest fires in Portugal under control

GOIS (Portugal) • The main forest fires that have raged in Portugal since the weekend and killed more than 60 people have been brought under control, the authorities said, though grief and anger smouldered across the country.

The fire in Pedrogao Grande, which ravaged 30,000ha of forests, was doused only late on Wednesday as firefighters contended with searing heat as well as rapidly shifting winds.

The giant blaze broke out initially in Pedrogao Grande and spread to adjacent central areas including Gois, Pampilhosa da Serra and Arganil.

The blaze in Gois, the second biggest after Pedrogao Grande, was brought "under control" on Thursday, said Mr Carlos Tavares, the civil protection official leading the operations, though he cautioned that some fires could resume.

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Now that the blaze has been doused, local people evacuated earlier from some 40 surrounding villages can return to homes saved from the flames.

Some 2,000 firefighters remained on duty to monitor the situation backed by 11 water-bombing planes sent from Spain, France and Italy.

In both areas, temperatures were expected to fall after several days of intense heat.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Thursday that Parliament will create an independent commission to investigate the fires.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2017, with the headline 'Main forest fires in Portugal under control'. Print Edition | Subscribe