More than 1,000 firefighters are still battling Portugal's deadliest forest fire after it killed dozens over the weekend.

A fireman has died from his injuries in hospital, bringing the death toll to at least 63.

More than 70 people, including 13 firefighters, were taken to hospital with burns and injuries as the fires ravaged the central districts of Leiria and Castelo Branco.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa called it the biggest human tragedy in Portugal in living memory.

Despite government assurances that the first response by the emergency services was swift and adequate, media and residents questioned its efficiency and the strategic planning in a country which is used to wooded areas burning every year.

"So what failed this Saturday? Everything, as it has failed for decades," read a headline in the newspaper Publico.

It blamed a lack of coordination between services in charge of fire prevention and firefighting and poor forestry reserve planning.

Xavier Viegas, an expert on forest fires, said the fire spread too quickly and violently for firefighters to respond in some villages, but the deaths have mainly shown shortcomings in communications to evacuate people in time.

At least half the victims died in their cars as they tried to flee along a local motorway.

Many other bodies were found next to the road, suggesting they had abandoned their vehicles in panic.

The firefighter who died had been helping people out of their cars when he was badly burned.

"It's still hard to identify what failed, but it's a bit of everything," Mr Viegas said.

"Obviously, certain things that should have been done had not been done - especially in communicating with the population, telling them about the danger levels, areas to be avoided."

An online public petition demanding an investigation into possible failures by the authorities has gathered 440 signatures.

Some local residents said they had been without the support of firefighters for hours as their homes burned.

Many blamed depopulation of villages that left wooded areas untended.

Other countries prone to forest fires have systems in place to warn people of danger.

Australia, for example, revised itsfire warning system after fires killed 173 people in 2009 and now uses text messages and emergency broadcasts to warn people.

"There's an urgent need to organise that kind of alerting," Mr Viegas said.

"Here, at best, someone from the parish council goes knocking on doors telling people to leave."