At Least 34 Killed in Wildfires Ravaging Portugal, Spain

17 October 2017, 12:24 | Isaac Mcdaniel

VIGO BURNS Fires spread across the north-west of Spain Twitter

VIGO BURNS Fires spread across the north-west of Spain

The wildfires follow an enormous forest blaze in Portugal in June, which killed 64 people and injured more than 130. "You don't see that in any other country in the world", said Ms Gaspar.

A one-month-old baby was among the dead, the Civil Protection Agency said Monday.

Agency spokeswoman Patricia Gaspar says seven people remain missing.

Portugal's government asked for worldwide help and declared a state of emergency in territory north of the Tagus river - about half of its landmass. Light rainfall early Monday was expected to help extinguish the flames.

In the Galicia region of Spain, arsonists are being blamed for taking advantage of the unsafe weather conditions.

The deaths occurred in the central and northern regions of Coimbra, Castelo Branco, Aveiro and Viseu, according to Civil Protection and as of 10am on Monday, firefighters continued to battle 108 blazes, with 33 said to be of "extreme importance" due to their proximity to settlements.

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

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

Spanish TV pictures showed people trying to fight fires with buckets of water.

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Fallen electricity pylons and abandoned cars were left lying in roads, the area surrounded by burnt pine and eucalyptus trees, as thick smoke clogged the sky.

Most of the fires in Galicia were started deliberately, the head of the regional government, Alberto Nunez Feijoo, said in a radio interview.

The Portuguese government said it had called on European Union members and Morocco to help in the firefighting efforts, but so far only Italy had agreed to send two water bombers due to arrive in the evening.

It is estimated that at least 5,000 hectares of land have been destroyed in Galicia and it has been reported on Monday that there are now 35 focal points in the neighboring region of Asturias.

"What we are seeing here doesn't happen accidentally".

"Galicia is not burning by itself".

He said "Galicia is fed up" with being attacked by arsonists who make the most of weather conditions, adding that some purposely tried to cause most damage by targeting urban areas.

Five wildfires near Vigo, Galicia's biggest city, forced the evacuation of a shopping mall and a Peugeot Citroen auto factory on the outskirts of the city, though workers were able to return to the factory on Monday. The fire prompted the evacuation of hundreds of people.



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