Portugal fire sur­vivors share har­row­ing tales

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Canada/world -

Sur­vivors emerged Mon­day with sto­ries of leap­ing into wa­ter tanks and other dra­matic es­capes from the for­est fires scorch­ing cen­tral Portugal, and au­thor­i­ties came un­der mount­ing crit­i­cism for not do­ing more to pre­vent Portugal’s dead­li­est nat­u­ral dis­as­ter in decades.

More than 2,700 fire­fight­ers were still bat­tling Mon­day to con­tain sev­eral ma­jor wild­fires in the area north­east of Lis­bon, where one blaze that be­gan Satur­day killed 63 peo­ple, many of them as they tried to flee the flames in their cars.

Wa­ter-drop­ping planes from Spain, France and Italy ar­rived as part of a Euro­pean Union co­op­er­a­tion pro­gram but they were grounded in some places be­cause thick smoke lim­ited vis­i­bil­ity, of­fi­cials said.

Portugal is ob­serv­ing three days of na­tional mourn­ing af­ter the deaths Satur­day night around the town of Pe­dro­gao Grande, 150 kilo­me­tres north of Lis­bon.

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