News24

Forest fires ravage eastern Spain

2012-07-01 18:41

Valencia - Two forest fires sweeping Spain's eastern Valencia region that have forced nearly 1 000 people to evacuate their homes showed no sign of abating on Sunday, according to authorities.

Despite more favourable weather conditions of "lower temperatures, increased humidity and an easterly wind", coming from the Mediterranean, the fires "continue to advance", burning thousands of hectares.

A total of 2 000 fire fighters assisted by 40 planes and helicopters tried to keep the fire away from residential areas.

Authorities spoke of "thousands of hectares" being burned while the Spanish press gave the figure as between 30 000 and 45 000ha, making it the biggest fire in the region in the last 20 years.

Nearly 1 000 people have been evacuated from local hamlets as well as the staff of a local power plant.

A dozen roads were also cordoned off.

The first fire in Cortes de Palla in Valencia was sparked on Thursday during work to fit solar panels on homes in the area.

Two people were arrested and placed under judicial supervision, said a spokesperson.

A second fire broke out in Andilla on Saturday.

Summer temperatures nearing 40ÂșC following the driest winter in 70 years have fanned the flames.