Wildfires kill at least 39 in Portugal and Spain

Two people die in fires in northwestern Spain

In the northwestern Spanish region of Galicia, on the Portuguese border, authorities were blaming arson for about 17 fires which have caused three deaths.

Regional President Alberto Nunez Feijoo called them "bordering on homicidal" and the Rural Environment Council also mentioned a "clear intent" behind the numerous blazes.

LISBON, Portugal (AP) _ Late season wildfires that broke out over the weekend in Portugal have killed at least 35 people, including a 1-month-old infant, authorities said Monday, making 2017 by far the deadliest year on record for forest blazes in the country.

A spokeswoman for Portugal's civil protection agency said of the 145 separate fires being fought, 32 were serious.

The situation was still "critical" because of unseasonably high temperatures.

She said seven people were still missing due to the fires, which have also injured at least 63 people, including 16 critically.

'We went through absolute hell, it was terrible. "Everything has to be transformed into reforms, to provide responses that the country needs so that nothing stays the way it was after this year", he told reporters after a television address to the nation.

The fires were being fanned by wind gusts of up to 90 kilometres per hour as Hurricane Ophelia moved north off the coast of Spain towards Ireland, Zoido told private broadcaster La Sexta.

Spain's Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has travelled to the northwestern region of Galicia, where thousands of people have been evacuated.

Officials in both countries said they expected that rain and cooler weather forecast for later on Monday would help put out the fires.

Five wildfires near Vigo, Galicia's biggest city, forced the evacuation of a shopping mall and a Peugeot Citroen vehicle factory on the outskirts of the city, though workers were able to return to the factory on Monday.

Caption: People push a van that got stuck bringing water for volunteers to fight a wild fire raging near houses in the outskirts of Obidos, Portugal, in the early hours of on October 16.

"What we are seeing here doesn't happen accidentally".

The city of around 300,000 residents has opened up two sports centres and booked rooms in three hotels for people who had to evacuate their homes.

Two women died on Sunday after being engulfed in flames trapped in their van near Nigran, outside Vigo, and an elderly man died in an animal shed near his house in Carballeda de Avia.

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