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'Over 30 dead' as wildfires rage in Portugal and Spain

'Over 30 dead' as wildfires rage in Portugal and Spain
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Hundreds of wildfires raging in Portugal and northwestern Spain have killed at least 30 people.

Thousands of firefighters are battling to contain them.

The Portuguese authorities say at least 27 people have died, with dozens injured in central and northern parts of the country.

Around 500 blazes were reported in the country’s central and northern regions where a state of emergency has been declared.

The fires have spread quickly since Sunday. Farmland has been destroyed and towns and villages evacuated as the flames sweep across a landscape left tinder-dry after a hot summer.

At least three people died in the northwestern Spanish region of Galicia, including an elderly farmer trying to save his animals. The bodies of two victims were found in a van which had been travelling through burning woods in Pontevedra province.

After a weekend in which more than 100 fires started in the region of Galicia, the city of Vigo has been described as being under siege from the flames.

Officials in both countries say arsonists are often to blame. Spanish authorities say some have been identified and could face up to 20 years in jail. In Portugal at least one person has been arrested.

Across the region, the flames have been fanned by strong winds linked to Hurricane Ophelia as it swept up the Iberian coast. Soaring temperatures of up to 36 degrees Celsius have been recorded – extraordinary for mid-October.

The worst outbreak of Portugal’s fires in 2017 killed 64 people in June, with many dying on a road as they fled the rampant flames in their cars.