Fatal forest fires in Portugal cause pain in Toronto’s Portuguese community

Dark clouds of smoke hang over Portugal as it mourns the loss of more than 60 people killed by raging forest fires there.

As the country observes three days of national mourning, the tragedy is reverberating thousands of kilometres away, in the hearts of many in Toronto’s Little Portugal.

Toronto is home to over 150,000 Portuguese Canadians — many of whom still have family and friends in the country.

Anotor Pires is one of them.

“I really feel sorry,” he told CBC Toronto. “I feel sorry for the people who have died, for the people who have suffered and for my country.”

Pires said he hasn’t heard of anyone who’s been directly affected.

“But who knows, maybe tomorrow, because I know a lot of people from that area.”

Of the at least 62 dead, many of the victims were killed when their vehicles were engulfed by flames on a road in the Pedrogao Grande area, about 150 kilometres northeast of Lisbon.

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