News24

600 firefighters battle Spain blaze

2012-08-22 17:12

Torneros de la Balderia - Firefighters battled a heat-fuelled wildfire in northern Spain on Wednesday that has already ravaged 10 000ha of land, local emergency services said.

About 600 firefighters, police and volunteers were working to put out the blaze which erupted on Sunday near the town of Castrocontigo in the province of Leon, emergency services said in a statement.

"At the moment there is no risk to the local population," it added.

"Even though the fire is stabilised, the difficult weather conditions due to a pocket of hot air from the Sahara located over the Iberian Peninsula can cause a change in the fire's evolution at any moment."

Twenty-six helicopters and water-dropping planes were taking part in the effort to put out the blaze which raged amid temperatures that soared up to 30°C in the region on Wednesday.

Local authorities suspect the wildfire was deliberately set.

Spain's interior ministry warned on Friday of a high risk of wildfires across most of the country over the coming days to the arrival of high temperatures and the dry state of fields of forests after a year with little rainfall.

Wildfires have ravaged a total of 139 886ha of land this year up to 12 August, three times the amount during the same time last year, according to Spanish government figures.