Portugal has declared three days of national mourning as the forest fire death toll rises to 62.
Interior Ministry official Jorge Gomes has told state broadcaster RTP that the number of victims from the flames and suffocating smoke has reached 60, while another two people perished in a traffic accident related to the fires.
The government declared Sunday through Tuesday as national days of mourning for the victims of a fire "which has caused an irreparable loss of human life."
Prime Minister Antonio Costa described the toll as "the biggest tragedy of human life that we have known in years."
The government also says that 360 soldiers are joining the 700 firefighters struggling to put out the blaze that started on Saturday.
The tragedy is the worst in recent memory in the southern European country, which often suffers wildfires during the hot and dry summer months.
The European Commission says it is working with EU member states to respond to the call for assistance issued overnight by Portuguese authorities.
Games said the fatalities occurred in the Pedrogao Grande area, about 150km northeast of Lisbon, where about firefighters have been trying to put out the fires since Saturday, Gomes said.
A huge wall of thick smoke and bright red flames towered over the top of trees near houses in the wooded region.
Local resident Isabel Brandao told The Associated Press that she had feared for her life.
"Yesterday we saw the fire but thought it was very far. I never thought it would come to this side," she said. "At 3:30am, my mother-in-law woke me up quickly and we never went to sleep again. We were afraid the fire would reach us."
Spanish state television showed terrifying images from Portugal of several people on a road trying to escape the intense smoke that had reduced visibility to a question of a few metres. A young man shared a bottle of water with a distraught woman as she stumbled down the road.
Costa said firefighting crews were having difficulties in approaching the area because the fire was "very intense."
He added that Portuguese authorities were working on identifying the victims.
Costa said while investigations are ongoing to determine the cause of the fire, authorities believe the high temperatures of 40degC in recent days may have played a part.