Northern California is not alone with the terrifying affects of wildfires, as arson is believed to have sparked a series of #Forest Fires in both Spain and Portugal. Wildfires in Portugal are mostly out, while Spain continues battling the blazes, fanned by #Hurricane Ophelia on its way to Ireland.

Tuesday saw Portugal begin three days of national mourning for the 37 victims of the wildfires, with the government receiving much criticism from the public over their handling of the situation. The tragedy comes just four months after another serious wildfire killed 64 people. The public wants officials to explain how they failed to prevent such a tragedy happening again.

Portugal and Spain battling fires and mourning victims

Emergency officials were assisted on Tuesday by both rain and lower temperatures. Portugal saw around 2,700 firefighters battling to kill the flames and to prevent the fires reigniting in the still-smoldering forests. However, they believe most of the major wildfires are now extinguished.

Some 5,600 firefighters were deployed in Spain to battle the blaze. As of now, authorities in Galicia say there are still at least 23 forest fires blazing out of control. El Pais in English reports that initially, 125 fires broke out simultaneously, devastating the area. In Vigo on the Atlantic coast, natural areas, houses, cars and industrial buildings were engulfed in flames. After rain and a temperature drop on Monday, the flames in that area calmed, but the wildfires moved on to Lugo and Ourense.

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Galicia’s neighboring region, Asturias also saw around 30 fires which forced many residents to evacuate. Schools and roads were closed in the area as firefighters worked. There was also much concern over the native brown bears that live in the region, as the president of the Brown Bear Foundation said their habitat was being burned. He went on to criticize the intentional fires that were intended to cause a lot of damage.

As can be seen from the video below, locals also did their best to fight the wildfires.

Majority of the wildfires were intentionally started

Investigations into claims of arson are underway following the hundreds of forest fires on the Iberian Peninsula. Officials believe the fires were started by arsonists, and then fanned by the freak weather conditions, as Hurricane Ophelia sent strong winds over the area while on its way to Ireland.

NBC News quotes Spain’s Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido as saying authorities have already identified some of the people involved in the arson. If convicted, the suspects could spend up to 20 years behind bars. Authorities in Portugal have also arrested at least two suspects who allegedly started the wildfires. #Portugal And Spain