A huge wall of thick smoke and bright red flames towered over the tops of trees in the forested Pedrogao Grande area in Portugal, ~150 km northeast of Lisbon. A lightning strike was believed to have sparked the blaze, on 17/06/2017. Investigators found a tree that was hit during a "dry thunderstorm," the head of the national judicial police said. Some roads were closed as the wildfire spread out of control, destroying several fire engines. About 60 forest fires took hold on the night of 17/06/2017, with 1,700 firefighters battling to put them out. At least 61 people have died, most of them trapped in their cars by flames as treacherous wind drove the blaze beyond firefighters’ control. The dimension of this fire has caused a human tragedy beyond any in our memory. Portugal, like most of southern Europe, is prone to forest fires in the dry summer months. The country was hit by a series of fires last year which devastated more than 100,000 hectares of the mainland.