Sun, Aug 09, 2015 - Page 6 News List

Wildfire in Spain forces evacuation of 1,400 people

AFP, MADRID

A wildfire raging in western Spain on Friday forced the evacuation of 1,400 people from towns and campsites, officials said.

The blaze, which broke out on Thursday amid scorching temperatures, has burned more than 5,000 hectares of land, the government of Extremadura region said in a statement.

About 300 firefighters backed by water-bomber aircraft battled the wildfire, which was fanned by strong winds.

About 1,400 residents of the villages of Acebo and Perales del Puerto, as well as holidaymakers from a number of mountain campsites, were taken overnight to the nearby towns of Caceres and Moraleja, the government added.

“We hope that later in the day we may have better news than we have had throughout this difficult night,” the head of the regional government, Guillermo Fernandez Vara, told reporters.

The cause of the fire was still undetermined, but “everything seems to indicate” that arson was to blame, he added.

About 600 firefighters were battling four other wildfires burning in the southeastern region of Murcia. The fires have so far burned 620 hectares of land.

The head of Murcia’s regional government, Pedro Antonio Sanchez, said firefighters were “working intensely to stabilize” the blazes.

The risk of wildfires was high across most of Spain on Friday due to soaring temperatures, strong winds and parched vegetation, the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture said.

Wildfires have destroyed more than 54,000 hectares of agricultural and forest land in Spain this year, the ministry said.

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