Firefighters were experiencing difficulties due to the intensity of the fire
19 Junio, 2017, 01:25
A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are in contact with the local authorities regarding the forest fires in central Portugal".
Another 54 people have been injured, including four firefighters and a child with serious injuries.
Pope Francis has led thousands of people in a moment of silent prayer for the victims of the Portugal fire.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino, attending the match in Russian Federation, also offered his condolences.
Gomes said that at least 16 people were killed when their vehicles were engulfed by flames on a road between the towns of Figueiro dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera, and three others died from smoke inhalation in Figueiro dos Vinhos.
"The smoke cloud is very low, which does not allow helicopters and fire planes to work efficiently. but we're doing everything possible and impossible to put out this fire", Gomes said, adding that no villages were now at risk.
He said it was vital to focus on the prevention of new fires, amid a continuing heat wave, strong winds and lack of rain.
He said the death toll was lowered to 61 from 62 because one person had been counted twice.
"This is a region that has had fires because of its forests, but we can not remember a tragedy of these proportions", said Valdemar Alves, mayor of Pedrogao Grande.
"Many cars could not get out, and people burned to death inside their cars", Jorge Gomes, Portuguese secretary of state of internal administration, told CNN affiliate TVI. Government officials say many of victims died in their cars when flames swept over a road.
Isabel Brandao told The Associated Press on Sunday that she had feared for her life when she saw the Pedrogao Grande blaze.
The fire broke out on Saturday in the municipality of Pedrogao Grande in central Portugal, before spreading fast across several fronts.
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43 killed in Portugal forest fires
Francis referred to the "devastating fire" at the end of his Sunday prayer, delivered from his studio window overlooking St. Costa said the government's main priority for now is " to save people who could still be in danger " and contain the fire.