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Portugal contains wildfire that killed 64

A wildfire that killed 64 people last weekend has been brought under control, Portuguese authorities said as a minute's silence was held in memory of victims of the country's deadliest natural disaster in decades.

"The fire is no longer progressing," Civil Protection Agency spokesman Vitor Vaz Pinto said, adding that hundreds of firefighters would remain on the scene to prevent it from reigniting.

Since Saturday, more than 1,000 firefighters and more than a dozen water-dropping aircraft were deployed to tackle the blaze that had raged across the central region of Portugal, about 150 kilometres (95 miles) north of Lisbon.

Some of the personnel and equipment were sent by other European Union countries and Morocco.

Cooler temperatures and weaker winds also helped firefighters make progress against a nearby wildfire in Gois.

There, about 1,100 firefighters supported by 14 water-dropping aircraft battled the flames, which officials said they expected to extinguish by Wednesday night.

Members of the government and politicians stood in silence outside the parliament building in Lisbon at 1pm (1200 GMT.)

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and members of the emergency services gathered near Pedrogao Grande, where the main blaze broke out.

Portugal had already observed three days of national mourning.

AP

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