39 dead as wildfires hit Portugal and Spain

Aaron Brown
October 17, 2017

Three people died in Spain's northwestern Galicia region - two of them women found inside a burnt-out auto, the third a man in his 70s killed as he tried to save his farm animals, according to local media.

Regional president Alberto Nunez Feijoo blamed arsonists for causing most of the blazes.

Late season wildfires that broke out over the weekend in Portugal have killed at least 35 people, including a one-month-old baby, making 2017 the deadliest year on record for forest blazes in the country.

Agency spokeswoman Patricia Gaspar says seven people remain missing.

Feijoo said that those responsible have taken advantage of the weather conditions, high winds and drought, to start them and cause more havoc.

Two brothers in their 40s who were trying to put out the blaze there were among the fatalities.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido also said that several people had already been identified in connection with the fires, and has appealed for anyone with further information to share it with the national protection service.

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Wildfires are an annual problem in Portugal, where strong winds off the Atlantic blow into a hot and dry country.

"We went through absolute hell, it was disgusting".

In Portugal, as in the northwestern Spanish region of Galicia, temperatures were cooler on Monday and weather services forecast rain for Tuesday, but about 3,600 firefighters were still battling some 30 major fires in Portugal by evening. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who is from Galicia, expressed his condolences to the victims in a Twitter message.

At least 36 people are dead as wildfires rage through parched farmlands and forests in Portugal and another three in neighbouring northwestern Spain. Images broadcast on Spanish TV showed local residents, their mouths and noses covered with handkerchiefs, trying to contain the flames with buckets and pans of water. "There was fire everywhere", a resident of the town of Penacova, near Lousa. told RTP television.

"What we are seeing here doesn't happen accidentally". The fire prompted the evacuation of hundreds of people.

Alberto Nunez Feijoo, leader of Galicia, said Monday that numerous fires had started as acts of arson.

Two women died on Sunday after being engulfed in flames trapped in their van near Nigran, outside Vigo, and an elderly man died in an animal shed near his house in Carballeda de Avia.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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