Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa has accepted the resignation of Interior Minister Constanca Urbano de Sousa, who has been criticised for her handling of wildfires that killed more than a hundred people in the past four months.

Portugal’s Interior Minister Constanca Urbano de Sousa resigned after criticism was raised following a series of deadly forest fires that killed more than 100 people in four months.
Portugal’s Interior Minister Constanca Urbano de Sousa resigned after criticism was raised following a series of deadly forest fires that killed more than 100 people in four months. (Reuters)

Portugal's Interior Minister Constanca Urbano de Sousa resigned on Wednesday after wildfires killed more than a hundred people in the past four months.

Hundreds of fires have raged across northern and central Portugal since Sunday after the driest summer in nearly 90 years, killing at least 41 people and overwhelming firefighting and rescue services. 

Similar huge blazes in June killed 64 people and injured 250 near the central Pedrogao Grande region, in what were the deadliest wildfires in the country's history.

In June wildfires killed 64 people and injured 250 near Portugal's central Pedrogao Grande region, in what were the deadliest wildfires in the country's history.
In June wildfires killed 64 people and injured 250 near Portugal's central Pedrogao Grande region, in what were the deadliest wildfires in the country's history. (Reuters)

On Tuesday evening, hundreds gathered in Lisbon under the pouring rain to demonstrate their anger over the government's failings, shouting "Shame!" and "Resign!" in a protest organised through Facebook. 

"A hundred people are dead and nobody is taking responsibility... We need answers!" one demonstrator said on national television.

The Interior Ministry is in charge of firefighters, the police and civil protection agency, which have all faced criticism after the fires.

As the toll mounted on Monday, a small rightwing party had called for the minister to step down. Prime Minister Antonio Costa initially resisted the demand but by Wednesday appeared to have backed down.

In her resignation letter, the minister said: "I didn't have the political and personal conditions to continue in my post."

Costa accepted her resignation, his office said.

This year's fires have burned a total of 350,000 hectares, the worst since 2003.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies