Spain has asked other European Union countries for additional planes, helicopters and fire engines to fight more than 110 forest fires. France said it will help and Italy has sent two planes that can drop thousands of litres of water on the blazes. Three people have been killed by fires in six days. The authorities said many were the work of arsonists who are now being sought by police.
Joan Mesquida, head of the Guardia Civil, said: “We’re asking for all possible help from anyone which information. We can protect witnesses and are offering rewards for information leading us to the people who started these fires.”
The fires in northwest Spain have destroyed more than 10,000 hectares. In Portugal 600 firefighters are battled eight blazes in the north, centre and south of the country. There too, arsonists have been active and Pedro do Carmo, coordinating the police effort to arrest them, described the typical fire-setter as: “Mostly young men who act alone and without any particular motive and sometimes after drinking a lot of alcohol.”
The Portuguese authorities said the most serious fires in the Ossa mountains, in southern Portugal, are now under control and they should be able to send some firefighters to Spain to help there.