Hurricane Ophelia

Photos of Galicians Fighting Wildfires Together

Hurricane Ophelia fuels wildfires across Spain and Portugal, which have killed at least 32 people.

by Felipe Carnotto
18 October 2017, 1:09am

All photos by the author

A version of this article originally appeared on VICE Spain

On Monday the 16th of October, Hurricane Ophelia hit northern Europe. While in southern England and Wales the effects of the storm were mostly contained to just an odd-coloured sky, Ireland was hit with winds of more than 100mph, killing three people and leaving hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses without power.

Meanwhile, devastating wildfires across Portugal and the northwestern Spanish region of Galicia got almost impossible to contain over the weekend, given the strong winds caused by Ophelia brushing by the coast, and the unusually high temperatures in the area. The past few days, at least 32 people have been killed in the fires – which local authorities say were set deliberately.

Photographer Felipe Carnotto spent the weekend in Galicia, around the towns of Vigo and Pontevedra. There ordinary Galicians used WhatsApp groups to organise and fight the deadly wildfires together, using buckets of water, tree branches and makeshift mouth caps.

Scroll down to see more photos of Galicians battling the wildfires.

Locals in Valladares, just outside of the city of Vigo, using buckets of water and tree branches to fight a wildfire that started at a school in the area.
Authorities suspect the fires in Portugal and Galicia were set deliberately. Valladares, Galicia
Valladares, Galicia
Valladares, Galicia
Valladares, Galicia
Valladares, Galicia
Valladares, Galicia
Valladares, Galicia
Valladares, Galicia
Valladares, Galicia
Valladares, Galicia
Valladares, Galicia
The wildfire also reached the municipality of As Neves in the Pontevedra province in Galicia. Roads were closed for any cars other than emergency vehicles.
Locals on Florida street in downtown Vigo making a human chain to pass on water.
Downtown Vigo, Galicia