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Posted by portugalpress on June 14, 2018

Just as communities around Pedrógão Grande remember the terrible fires that killed so many people this time last year, Lusa reports that the 50th victim of “the worst fire in living memory” has died, elevating 2017’s list of fatalities to 116.

Sixty-seven people died as a result of the fires that started on June 17, while “the worst fire in living memory” raged for over a week in central districts around Oliveira do Hospital.

The latest fatality was a council employee who suffered terrible burns and who never left hospital.

Very little else has been explained today, other than that the woman who died had been transferred to Coimbra after initial care at Lisbon’s specialist burns unit at Hospital de S. José.

Meantime, rural populations are remembering the calamity that changed their lives forever a year ago.

One told reporters that she “still wakes up at night, in terrible stress”.

The association of victims of Pedrógão Grande is hopeful, nonetheless, that the investigation underway that is gathering ‘arguidos’ will see some useful closure.

As reports have explained, many of the official suspects could face jail sentences if found guilty of negligence that can be proved to have led to so many deaths.

People “need to see” others blamed for the tragedy, said the Pedrógão Grande association’s president Nádia Piazza, but they also need to see “the territory, and political approaches rethought, which takes longer and attracts less votes”.

The government nonetheless has held last year’s horrors as a top priority, with changes underway already being reported overseas.

Only this week international channels were carrying reports about the herds of goats now being used up and down the country as four-footed forestry sappers charged with munching their way through hectares of overgrown scrubland.

Euronews, for example, describes the goats as being “on the front line of the government’s efforts to avoid a repeat of the deadly fires that swept through central Portugal a year ago”.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com

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