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Three Dead As Wildfire Strikes Madeira

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Three elderly people have died in a wildfire which has torn through the Portuguese island of Madeira.

A thousand people have been evacuated from homes and hotels near the capital Funchal, where three elderly people have died in two separate house fires.

Two people have also been seriously injured and another is missing, according to Portuguese newspaper Publico.

A man has been arrested on suspicion of starting the fire, police have said.

The National Civil Protection Service has sent 3,300 firefighters to tackle the blaze, along with 23 water-dumping aircraft.

Fire service officials said the steep hills and dense woodland around Funchal made it difficult to reach the flames.

City mayor Paulo Cafofo said it was "impossible" to calculate how many buildings were caught in the blaze, but told Publico that a five-star hotel and spa had been completely consumed.

Madeira, a popular spot for British holidaymakers, has experienced temperatures of more than 35C since Monday.

More than 300 people have been treated for minor burns and smoke inhalation.

Britons booked to travel from Madeira to Edinburgh and Glasgow were left stranded for more than 12 hours on Tuesday, after EasyJet and cancelled flights.


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