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News Link • Spain

Driving through the killer inferno...

•, By Rita Sobot and Gerard Couzens

Wildfires have killed at least 39 people across Portugal and Spain as hundreds of blazes were fanned by strong winds caused by a hurricane, authorities said on Monday.

Thirty-five people - including a one-month-old baby - in Portugal have died and dozens have been injured, most of them firefighters, during fires raging in central and northern areas of the country. 

Portugal's civil protection service said as of Monday morning, firefighters were fighting 145 separate blazes across the country, dozens of which are considered to still be serious. 

In the northwestern Spanish region of Galicia, authorities said that four people had died, two of them trapped in a car, as a result of blazes that were threatening inhabited areas prompting the evacuation of thousands.

Authorities in both countries said that the strong winds from Hurricane Ophelia in the Atlantic Ocean and high temperatures fanned the fires. 

Investigations were also focusing on human and criminal causes, with political leaders accusing 'terrorist arsonists' of starting the blazes.

Survivor Renato Teixeira, from Coimbra, posted a video of his near escape on the A17 motorway near Vagos, Portugal, on his Facebook page alongside the message: 'Today luck was on my side. I was dying.'

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