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These Pictures Of Deadly Wildfires Show Why #PrayForPortugal Has Been Trending

Three people are confirmed to have died after fires tore through the island of Madeira.

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At least three people died after devastating wildfires tore through the Portuguese island of Madeira, authorities said Wednesday.

GregÓrio Cunha / EPA

Fires near Funchal, the capital of Madeira, on Tuesday night.

The forest fires spread to the island capital, Funchal, a major tourist destination. Some 1,000 people, including tourists and residents, have been evacuated across the island, Reuters reported.

Online, the hashtag #PrayForPortugal started trending as images of thick smoke rose from people's homes. Many people expressed solidarity with those affected and praised the thousands of firefighters who were dealing with the blaze.

Fires have also hit the northern Portuguese mainland, closing major highways and destroying homes. This picture shows damage in near Agueda, in the coastal Aveiro region.

In a news conference on Wednesday, Madeira's regional governor, Miguel Albuquerque, said 80 people had been hospitalized with smoke inhalation and burn wounds and two people were in a serious condition, Reuters reported.

Fire officials said the hilly terrain and thick woodland in Madeira — located off the coast of Northwest Africa — had made tackling the flames hard, according to the Press Association.

Buildings evacuated on the island include a hospital with 200 patients and staff, while a five-star hotel and about 40 homes in the hills over Funchal were destroyed.

Locals reportedly used garden hoses and buckets of water in a frantic attempt to keep away the flames from their homes as high winds caused embers to fly across roads.

Laura Gallant is a staff photographer at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

Contact Laura Gallant at .

Francis Whittaker is a homepage editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Francis Whittaker at

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