More than 1,000 firefighters were still tackling Portugal’s deadly forest fire after on Monday after the blaze claimed dozens of lives over the weekend.

The death toll in the fire has risen to at least 63 as authorities struggle to quell the spread of the flames, which are suspected to have been caused by a lightening strike, and sustained by extremely hot weather and strong winds.

More that 70 people, including 13 firefighters, were taken to hospital on Monday with burns and injuries as the fires ravaged the central districts of Leiria and Castelo Branco.

At least half the victims died in their cars as they tried to flee. Other bodies were found at the sides of roads, suggesting that people had abandoned their vehicles in a bid to escape.

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