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Wildfires kill 39 people in Portugal

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Wildfires

A spate of wildfires in central and north Portugal which started at the weekend has killed at least 39 people.

Civil Defence authorities said dozens of the 145 fires still raging are considered serious.

To the north, fires which broke out across the border in Spain’s Galicia region claimed at least three lives.

Thousands of firefighters are battling the flames, which erupted after a hot dry summer.

Conditions were worsened by Hurricane Ophelia, as it approached Europe’s western coast, bringing strong winds to fan and spread the flames.

More than 50 people have also been injured in Portugal, 15 are reported to be in a serious condition. Local media said several people are still missing there.

In Spain, two of the victims were found in a burned-out car by the side of the road. Rain is forecast for the affected regions.

A state of emergency has been declared in Portugal north of the Tagus river – about half of the country’s land area. More than 6,000 firefighters in 1,800 vehicles were deployed on Monday.

As a result of the fires, at least a dozen roads were closed, as well as schools in some places. The Portuguese deaths were in the Coimbra, Guarda, Castelo Branca and Viseu areas.

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