Locals try to extinguish a wildfire approaching houses in Santiago de Besteiros, central Portugal, on August 30, 2013

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Locals try to extinguish a wildfire approaching houses in Santiago de Besteiros, near Caramulo, central Portugal, early on August 30, 2013. (AFP Photo/Patricia de Melo Moreira)

Firefighters battled wildfires on Friday in Portugal where they have claimed five lives and tamed another major blaze in northern Spain, officials said.

In Portugal, some 1,400 firefighters backed by Spanish and French aircraft were battling a series of fires that have ravaged thousands of hectares of forest in the north and centre of the country.

Locals helped fight Portugal’s main fire in the central Caramulo mountain range, tipping buckets of water or beating it with branches. Others stood by amazed, holding rags over their mouths to shield them from the smoke.

“I’ve never seen such a fierce fire. Everything is covered in soot. It is going to be difficult to continue living here,” said Maria Sousa, 66, a local resident.

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Locals shout as they try to extinguish a wildfire in Caramulo, central Portugal on August 29, 2013. Five Portuguese mountain villages were evacuated overnight as forest fires intensified in the country’s north and centre, officials said today. As many as 1,400 firefighters were dispatched Thursday to tackle the blaze in the mountains and another raging further north in the national park of Alvao, where 2,000 hectares (4,900 acres) of pine forest have already been destroyed, according to the local mayor. PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images

Firefighters works at the site of a wildfire O Rosal near Pontevedra, on August 29, 2013. Spain is prone to forest fires in summer because of soaring temperatures, strong winds and dry vegetation. Last year wildfires destroyed some 150,000 hectares of land in Spain from January to July, after one of the driest winters on record. PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images

Flames and smoke rise into the air as a firefighters works at the site of a wildfire in Lousame, near A Coruna, on August 29, 2013. Spain is prone to forest fires in summer because of soaring temperatures, strong winds and dry vegetation. Last year wildfires destroyed some 150,000 hectares of land in Spain from January to July, after one of the driest winters on record. PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images

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