At least 57 people died and 59 were injured in a forest fire in central Portugal on Saturday (17 June).
"Unfortunately this seems to be the greatest tragedy we have seen in recent years in terms of forest fires," Prime Minister Antonio Costa said at the Civil Protection headquarters near Lisbon.
Most of the victims were those who tried to flee the Pedrogao Grande area, 50 km (30 miles) south-east of Coimbra. They were trapped in their cars as the flames got beyond the control of the firefighters.
Earlier, the Secretary of State for the Interior, Jorge Gomes, said about 16 people died in their cars on the road linking Figueiro dos Vinhos to Castanheira de Pera. Three people are said to have died from smoke inhalation.
Around 500 firefighters and 160 vehicles were sent to battle the blaze, but it was so severe that several fire engines were destroyed. Some roads were closed as the fire got out of control.
"The priority now is to get the ongoing fire under control – after that we must understand what happened," Costa said. "It's the biggest tragedy in recent years," he added.
President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa praised the bravery of the firefighters. He said "wind and high temperatures" were making the job of controlling the fire extremely complicated.
The death toll in the current forest fire is reported to be the highest in Portugal since 1966 when 25 soldiers battling a blaze in the Sintra forest near Lisbon were killed.
In 2016, at least three people were killed in a fire on the Atlantic island of Madeira. Hundreds were evacuated from their homes, buildings and a hospital.