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Deadly Wildfires Devastate Spain and Portugal

Rain and lower temperatures on Tuesday helped emergency teams bring under control most of the wildfires that killed at least 41 people.

A firefighter from the Spanish military emergency unit battles with flames in Vilamarin in Galicia, Spain on Oct. 14.

The Portuguese minister in charge of emergency services resigned Wednesday after 106 people were killed in unprecedented wildfires this year in the Iberian nation.

The European Union's Emergency Management Service, meanwhile, says the area burned by wildfires this year in Portugal is the largest on record for the nation, more than six times the annual average for the last eight years.

Brais Lorenzo / EPA

A man attempts to subdue wildfire flames in Vigo, northwestern Spain on Oct. 15.

 

Miguel Riopa / AFP - Getty Images

Flames threaten a small chapel in Moinhos village, Lousa, Portugal on Oct. 15.

Paulo Novais / EPA

Firefighters work to extinguish a fire in Moinhos, Portugal on Oct. 15.

Portuguese authorities reported that almost all major wildfires were out by Tuesday morning. Some 2,700 firefighters were deployed to prevent re-ignitions in the country's smoldering forests.

Paulo Cunha / EPA

A house burns in Moinhos village, Portugal on Oct. 15.

 

Paulo Cunha / EPA

A resident fights a wildfire in Vila Nova de Poiares, Lousa, Portugal on Oct. 15.

Paulo Novais / EPA
Emergency services battle a forest fire in Chandebrito village, Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain on Oct. 15. Lavandeira jr / EPA

A wild horse grazes close to a forest fire in Cures parish, in Boiro, Galicia on Oct. 15.

Lavandeira jr / EPA

A firefighter kneels on the ground during a fire in Vila Nova de Poiares, Lousa, Portugal on Oct. 15.

Paulo Cunha / EPA

A villager checks a burnt area in Soutomaior in Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain on Oct. 16.

Lalo R. Villar / AP

A burnt sculpture is seen in As Neves, Galicia near the border with Portugal on Oct. 16.

Cabalar / EPA

A man fights a wildfire in Vieira de Leiria, Marinha Grande, central Portugal on Oct. 16.

Investigations were underway to find the cause of the late-season wave of hundreds of forest fires, which Iberian officials blamed mostly on arsonists and freak weather conditions. Temperatures on the Iberian Peninsula exceeded 86 Fahrenheit over the weekend and the area was raked by high winds as Hurricane Ophelia churned past in the Atlantic.

Ricardo Graca / EPA

Residents hold their pets as a wildfire moves toward their houses in As Neves, Pontevedra in Galicia, Spain on Oct. 16.

Alba Sotelo / AP

A woman covers her face to protect herself from the smoke as fires burn in As Neves, Galicia, Spain on Oct. 16.

Cabalar / EPA

Smoke rises from a wildfire close to a house in Nigran, Galicia, Spain on Oct. 16.

Brais Lorenzo / EPA

A firefighter stares out at flames from a forest fire in Cabanoes, near Lousa, Portugal on Oct. 16.

Pedro Nunes / Reuters

Firefighters try to extinguish a fire in Cabanoes near Louzan in Portugal on Oct. 16.

Francisco Leong / AFP - Getty Images

Men gather cattle during a forest fire in Vieira de Leiria, Marinha Grande, Portugal on Oct. 16.

Ricardo Graca / EPA

Burnt vehicles sit in a garage in Miro, near Penacova, Portugal on Oct. 17.

 

Pedro Nunes / Reuters

Farmers walk their livestock on a mountain road past burnt vegetation in San Martin de Cereixedo, Cervantes, Galicia, northern Spain on Oct. 17.

Vincent West / Reuters

A property is burnt in the village of Travanca do Mondego in the Coimbra region of Portugal on Oct. 17, 2017.

 

Pablo Blazquez Dominguez / Getty Images

A woman walks through the burnt forest in Vila Nova, near Vouzela, Portugal on Oct. 17.

Pedro Nunes / Reuters

A tree burns near Vouzela in the Viseu region of Portugal on Oct. 17.

Pablo Blazquez Dominguez / Getty Images