Two people die in fires in northwestern Spain

Pauline Gross
October 17, 2017

At least 27 people have died as firefighters battle more than 145 fires in Portugal, the country's civil protection service says, while Spain battles its own blazes.

Officials initially put the death toll at six and no one was immediately available to confirm the rising death toll, Reuters said.

In Portugal, the government declared a state of emergency for regions north of the Tajo river.

The agency said more than 5,300 firefighters and more than 1,600 vehicles are battling the blazes, around 20 of which are described as "major".

In June, a massive forest wildfire killed 64 people and injured 150 people. An independent investigation into those fires found last week that authorities failed to evacuate villages on time.

Spain's prime minister focused on criminal intent, and said authorities were certain the fires were caused by arsonists.

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A third person was on Monday confirmed to have died in Carbelleda de Avia, close to Oursense, a city in northwestern Spain, in a series of wildfires which have caused widespread destruction in the Spanish Autonomous Community of Galicia since Friday.

Asked if it was likely to be the worst storm in 50 years, he said the "comparable weather event" was hurricane Debbie, which killed 12 people in Ireland in 1961. Local media reports said several people are still missing, including a one-month old baby.

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.

'We went through absolute hell, it was awful.

Regional president Alberto Nunez Feijoo said "Galicia is fed up" with being attacked by arsonists who make the most of weather conditions, adding that some are targeting urban areas. "There was fire everywhere", a resident of the town of Penacova, near Lousa. told RTP television.

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.

Other reports by GizPress

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