More than 20 people have been killed in forest fires in central Portugal, many of them trapped in their cars as flames swept over a road, officials said early Sunday.

Portuguese radio station TSF, citing the Interior Ministry, said 25 people had been killed in blazes in the Pedrogao Grande area, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) northeast of Lisbon. Some 600 firefighters were trying to put out the fires, which started Saturday.

Interior Ministry official Jorge Gomes said 16 people were killed in their cars on a road between the towns of Figueiro dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera and three others died from smoke inhalation in Figueiro dos Vinhos.

Public broadcaster RTP said there were about 20 injured, including six firefighters. Fourteen of the injured were in serious condition, RTP said.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa called it a “tragedy of a big dimension.” He said Portuguese authorities were working on identifying the victims and that Spanish rescuers would assist in efforts to put out the fires.

SOURCE: AP

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