Terrifying photos of the October fires in Portugal and Spain

fireBombeirosSmallWhile statistics show that the world is actually somewhat more sane and under control than we might think, the deadly natural disasters we have seen lately really are making us feel otherwise.

The latest is a series of wildfires in Portugal and northern Spain, as strong winds “from a hurricane fanned hundreds of blazes sweeping across densely forested territory,” reports The New York Times:

The fires had spread rapidly since Sunday, in part because of strong winds tied to Hurricane Ophelia in the Atlantic Ocean, Spanish meteorologists said. But investigators are looking at human causes.

Alberto Núñez Feijóo, the leader of Galicia, said on Monday that many of the fires had started as acts of arson.

“The only thing we desire is that these criminals pay for what they have done,” he told a news conference on Monday.

At least 39 people have died and dozens more have been injured, forcing authorities in Portugal to declare a state of emergency in affected areas over the weekend:

Across the border in Spain, fires reached the outskirts of the port city of Vigo, forcing the temporary closing of a car factory. Television news reports and videos shared on social media showed residents forming human chains to pass water buckets in order to help put out flames.

The Spanish authorities said that more than 90 fires were burning in the northern regions of Galicia and Asturias. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who is from Galicia, traveled on Monday to his home region, where the authorities confirmed that at least four people had died.


Around 500 fires were reported in the central and northern regions, with about 4 000 firefighters working to extinguish at least 65 of the blazes on Monday morning.

Here’s a look at some of those scenes:

Hectic – that last one especially, taken by firefighter Helio Madeiras.

Meanwhile, over in Britain, the effects of the fires could also be seen. The dust from the blazes, “combined with the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia, gave the sky a reddish hue that is normally seen only at sunrise or sunset,” the Met office said:


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