Wildfires in Portugal, Spain kill at least 9 people

Marsha Scott
October 17, 2017

The 36 deaths, which were confirmed by Portugal's national civil protection agency and included a one-month-old baby, come four months after 64 people were killed in the deadliest fire in the country's history in June. On Monday, the "situation remained very worrying", Feijoo said, adding that firefighters along with soldiers and locals were battling the flames.

In Portugal, the fires have been exacerbated by "exceptional" weather conditions, including a drought and unseasonably high temperatures, Civil Protection Agency spokeswoman Patricia Gaspar told the Associated Press.

Portugal's government asked for global help and declared a state of emergency in territory north of the Tagus river - about half of its landmass.

Officials in both countries said they expected that rain and cooler weather forecast for later on Monday would help put out the fires.

Officials there have blamed arsonists for causing most of the 105 fires that have left four people dead in Spain.

"We went through absolute hell, it was awful". There was fire everywhere, ' a Penacova resident told RTP television.

Caption: People push a van that got stuck bringing water for volunteers to fight a wild fire raging near houses in the outskirts of Obidos, Portugal, in the early hours of on October 16.

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A number of people are said to be "under suspicion" but no arrests have yet been made.

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.

The wave of blazes around nine different municipal areas in the provinces of Pontevedra, Lugo and Ourense are assessed to have destroyed between 4000-5000 hectares of land.

However, more than 50 people have also been injured on the Portuguese side of the border while thousands of firefighters are battling the flames, which exploded across the north-eastern side of Portugal and parts of Spain over the weekend after a hot dry summer.

"What we are experiencing here does not happen by chance, this was provoked", he said after observing a minute's silence for the victims in the town of Pazos de Borben.

"Galicia is not burning by itself".

"They are absolutely intentional fires, premeditated, caused by people who know what they are doing", said Alberto Nunez Feijoo, the head of the Galicia regional government.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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