Wildfires kill at least 35 in Portugal and Spain

LISBON/MADRID: At least 35 people died in wildfires raging through parched farmlands and forests in Portugal and neighbouring Spain on Sunday and Monday, officials said.
Portugal, still recovering from its deadliest forest fire on record in June when 64 people were killed, bore the brunt of the latest death toll – 32, with the possibility of rising further, according to the authorities.
Firefighters were still battling 50 blazes in Portugal and a similar number in Spain. Portugal’s government asked for international help and declared a state of emergency in territory north of the Tagus river – about half of its landmass.
“We are facing new (weather) conditions … In an era of climate change, such disasters are becoming reality all over the world,” Portuguese Interior Minister Constanca Urbano de Sousa said, citing the fires burning in California.
Flames ripped across Iberian countryside left tinder-dry by an unusually hot summer and early autumn, fanned by strong winds as remnants of ex-Hurricane Ophelia brushed coastal areas.
Officials in Portugal and Spain said arsonists had started some of the blazes. — Reuters