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Dozens killed in wildfires sweeping Portugal and Spain

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Nearly 30 people were killed in Portugal and Spain overnight as wildfires — fanned by strong winds from Hurricane Ophelia — ravaged northern Portugal and Spain, according to a report, reported New York Post (US).

Twenty-seven people were killed in central and northern Portugal on Sunday and early Monday, and the death toll is expected to rise, the country’s national civil protection authority told The Guardian.

The Portuguese government declared a state of emergency for regions north of the Tagus Rover. Patricia Gaspar, the country’s civil protection spokeswoman, called it “the worst day of the year in terms of forest fires,” the paper reported.

Three people have been reported dead in Spain.

More than 6,000 firefighters battled upward of 500 wildfires Sunday — marking the greatest number of fires in a single day for more than 10 years, according to the report.

Most of the fires — which ravaged homes, factories and other infrastructure — were set deliberately, Jorge Gomes, Portugal’s secretary of state of internal administration, told The Guardian.

Two of the three victims in Spain were discovered inside a torched car on a road in the northwestern region of Galicia, according to the report. The third victim, a man in his 70s, was killed in an attempt to save his farm animals.

Strong winds fanned the flames as remnants of Hurricane Ophelia passed through, according to the report. Some of the fires were still burning as of Monday morning, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, head of the regional government in Galicia, Spain, told The Guardian.

“All of Galicia is weeping this morning for our razed hills, but especially for the loss of human lives,” he said.

Some of those responsible for setting the blazes have already been identified, Spain’s Interior Minister, Juan Ignacio Zoido, told the outlet.

If convicted, they could face up to 20 years in prison.

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