Forest fire tragedy in Portugal

Portugalfire18June17

Burnt cars block a road in the Pedrogao Grande area, Portugal, 18 June 2017 (AP/Armando Franca)

A massive forest fire in central Portugal has claimed more than 60 lives and injured dozens of others with hot, windy conditions fanning the flames.

Many died in their vehicles trying to flee the blaze while others died from smoke inhalation.

Portugal has declared three days of mourning in what has been called the worst human tragedy in recent times.

More than 2,000 firefighters are on the scene with help coming from Spain and across Europe.

Officials believe lightning started the fire on Saturday in the mountainous area of Pedrogao Grande, northeast of Lisbon.

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Hurricane Joaquin barrels across Atlantic

Flooding in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, USA, 04 Oct 2015 (AFP/Getty Images)

Flooding in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, USA, 04 Oct 2015 (AFP/Getty Images)

Apart from cloud cover over Nova Scotia and New Brunswick tonight, Hurricane Joaquin will have no impact on Atlantic Canada as it churns northeastward across the ocean.

Joaquin brushed past Bermuda yesterday as a Category 2 storm with winds up to 160 km/h after roaring across the Bahamas as a major Category 4 hurricane where a U.S. cargo ship disappeared with more than 30 crew aboard.

U.S. forecasters say the moisture-laden storm was also partially responsible for record rainfall of more than 300 mm in parts of South Carolina – several months’ worth of rain in only 24 hours.

Although models showed the remnants of Joaquin would make it to the United Kingdom, it looks like the storm will weaken but bring rain and strong winds to Portugal later this week.