The Latest: Portugal forest fire death toll rises to 39

Government officials say many of victims died in their cars when flames swept over a road

A man on the balcony of a house looks up at a forest fire raging on a hillside above the village of Avelar, central Portugal, before su

Firefighters of the Portuguese National Republican Guard work to stop a forest fire from reaching the village of Avelar, central Portug

Portuguese National Republican Guard firefighters work to stop a forest fire from reaching the village of Avelar, central Portugal, at

Firefighters of the Portuguese National Republican Guard work to stop a forest fire from reaching the village of Avelar, central Portug

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — The Latest on Portugal forest fires (all times local):

8:25 a.m.

Portugal's interior minister says that the death toll in the forest fires raging in the center of the country has increased to 39.

Interior Minister Jorge Gomes has been quoted as giving the new figure on public broadcaster RTP. Government officials say many of victims died in their cars when flames swept over a road.

About 600 firefighters are fighting blazes that are raging in the Pedrogao Grande area about 150 kilometers (95 miles) northeast of Lisbon.

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4:35 a.m.

Portuguese radio station TSF says the Interior Ministry has confirmed that 25 people have been killed in forest fires in central Portugal.

Government officials say many of victims died in their cars when flames swept over a road.

About 600 firefighters are fighting blazes that are raging in the Pedrogao Grande area about 150 kilometers (95 miles) northeast of Lisbon.