35 people have been killed in the wildfire in Portugal and at least 4 in Spain
The recent wildfire has made 2017 by far the deadliest year on record for forest blazes in Portugal
In Spain, wildfires have prompted the evacuation of thousands in Galicia
LISBON, Portugal - Wildfires that broke out in Portugal, leading to 35 deaths over the weekend have made 2017 the deadliest year on record for forest blazes in the country.
In neighboring Spain too, wildfires killed at least four people and prompted the evacuation of thousands in the northwest region of Galicia.
The flames were fanned by the remnants of winds from Hurricane Ophelia along Iberia's Atlantic coast.
The latest wildfire comes four months after a summer blaze claimed 64 lives in one night.
So far this year, a total of 99 deaths have been reported and is the highest recorded number of deaths since the year 1966, when 25 deaths were reported.
On Monday, the Civil Protection Agency said that a one-month-old baby was among the dead in Portugal.
Authorities said that the infant's body was found near Tabua, some 200 kilometers (120 miles) north of Lisbon, while the parent's bodies were found nearby.
Civil Protection Agency spokeswoman Patricia Gaspar said that so far 56 people were injured, 16 of them seriously, and nine people were reported missing in the blazes that broke out over the weekend.
She warned that the death toll could rise and added, "We are still searching burnt areas to see if there are any more victims.”
Late on Monday, authorities said that over 5,300 firefighters with more than 1,600 vehicles were still battling the fires through dense pine and eucalyptus forests.
Officials have said that each year, Portugal endures widespread forest blazes every summer and most fires are set deliberately and spread quickly due to poor forest management which leaves debris that fuels fires.
On Sunday, emergency services recorded 523 wildfires - the highest number in a single day this year.
It was also the highest number of fires recorded on one day in more than a decade.
Gaspar said, "You don't see that in any other country in the world.”
Home Affairs Minister Constanca Urbano de Sousa, who is in charge of emergency services said in a statement, "We have all our firefighters out there doing everything they can.”
She added that climate change has brought an additional factor into the battle against woodland fires.
Sousa said that due to climate change, "large-scale catastrophes are now a reality all over the world.”
Adding that that meant more effort has to be put into preventive measures.
Meanwhile, Spain's prime minister said authorities were certain the fires were caused by arsonists.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said, "What we are seeing here doesn't happen accidentally. This has been induced.”
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