Death Toll rises to 36 as wildfires in Portugal And Spain remain uncontained. The national civil protection agency confirmed the deaths which included a one-month-old baby. Thousands of families fled to safety as more than 6,000 firefighters and 1,800 vehicles were deployed to extinguish the fires in the areas. The government of Portugal has sought help from other European nations and Morocco to help battle the fires. Italy has sent two water bombers.

A State of emergency has been declared by the government in regions north of the Tajo River. Galacian authorities have declared three days of mourning together with Portugal and the Spanish region of Austria.

Angle of Arson

The angle of arson is being considered by the authorities. Galician leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo said that initial investigations made by the authorities revealed that the fires were purposefully set by arsonists.

Some of the responsible arsonists had been identified already and if they are proven guilty and convicted, they could be sentenced to jail for up to 20 years, said Spain’s interior minister, Juan Ignacio Zoido.

Mariano Rajoy, Spanish Prime Minister arrived in Galacia on Monday. He met with the firefighters and spent few minutes in silence for the victims of the Wildfires. He said that the fire outbreak did not happen by mere chance but rather were set intentionally.

Tail-end of hurricane Ophelia fanned the fires

The prolonged drought and temperatures of mid-October which reached to 30 degrees Celsius were the major contributing factors of the widespread of the wildfires.

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Moreover, as the hurricane Ophelia batters across the United Kingdom on Monday, strong winds from the tail-end of the hurricane fanned the wildfires in Portugal and Spain. The blazes spread instantly and worsened the situation.

Still, the blazes in Galicia are not fully contained and the fires are feared to spread across the town, the head of the regional government, Alberto Núñez Feijóo said. He described the situation as critical, especially as 17 fires close to populated areas remained uncontrolled. Weather services, however, forecast rain on Tuesday. The people of Galicia are weeping for the razed hills, but especially for the loss of human lives due to the wildfires said Feijóo.

There were 524 recorded fire outbreaks in Portugal, civil protection agency spokeswoman Patricia Gaspar said. Similarly, a massive forest blaze was experienced recently this June in Portugal near Pedrogao Grande, leaving a death toll of 64 and injured 130 individuals. The wildfire was also alleged to be caused by arsonists. Authorities hope that death toll of the wildfires in Portugal and Spain will not surpass the record of last June.