Portugal Close to Containing Deadly Wildfire

64 people died in wildfire in central region


A fire fighting aircraft drops water over a fire outside the village of Pedrogao Grande central Portugal, Monday, June 19, 2017. More than 2,000 firefighters in Portugal battled Monday to contain major wildfires in the central region of the country, where one blaze killed dozens of people, while authorities came under mounting criticism for not doing more to prevent the tragedy. (AP Photo/Paulo Duarte)


LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal is close to containing the wildfire that killed 64 people last weekend, authorities said Wednesday, as a minute of silence was held in memory of the victims.

Members of the government and lawmakers stood in silence outside the parliament building in Lisbon. President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and members of the emergency services gathered near Pedrogao Grande, about 150 kilometers (95 miles) north of Lisbon, where the blaze broke out Saturday.

Portugal had already observed three days of national mourning after the country’s deadliest natural disaster in decades.

With the Pedrogao Grande wildfire almost out, firefighters were carrying out operations to prevent the fire from reigniting, Civil Protection Agency spokesman Vitor Vaz Pinto said. More than 1,200 firefighters were still on duty at the blaze.

Cooler temperatures and weaker winds also helped firefighters make progress against a nearby wildfire in Gois. There, about 1,100 firefighters supported by 21 water-dropping aircraft are battling the flames, which officials say they expected to extinguish by the end of the day.

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