Spain wildfire forces more evacuations

2015-08-08 19:28


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Madrid - A wildfire that officials suspect was started deliberately, forced the evacuation of a third town in western Spain on Saturday, officials said.

Firefighters evacuated about 1 000 people from the town of Hoyos in the early hours of Saturday, a day after another 1 400 people were ordered to leave their homes and campsites in two other nearby towns.

"The wind fanned the flames and caused the fire to spread, forcing the evacuation of Hoyos due to the proximity of the blaze and especially the smoke," local Red Cross official Jose Lopez Santana told Spanish public radio.

The blaze, which broke out in the Sierra de Gata mountain range amid scorching temperatures on Thursday, has burned over 6 000ha of land.

About 300 firefighters and other emergency crew worked overnight to battle the blaze, the government of the Extremadura region said in a statement.

Firefighters took residents of a retirement home in Hoyos to a hospital in the nearby town of Coria, the statement added.

"For families it is very hard not being able to remain at home, but saving lives must be our top priority," 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.

"When a fire is concentrated in a very specific area it is because the hand of man must have played some kind of a role, because it is not hotter and drier in the Sierra de Gata than in the rest of Extremadura," he said.

Six roads in the Sierra de Gata mountain range were closed because of the fire.

Winds expected to slow

Winds were expected to slow throughout the day, helping firefighters to bring the blaze under control.

About 300 firefighters were battling four other wildfires burning in the southeastern region of Murcia.

The fires, which were all started on Thursday by lightning strikes, have so far burned more than 700ha of land, local officials said.

A fifth fire broke out due to a lightning strike on Friday afternoon, but was quickly put out, local officials said.

The risk of wildfires was high in western Spain and large parts of the country's Mediterranean coast on Saturday because of high temperatures and low air humidity levels, according to national weather agency AEMET.

Wildfires have destroyed more than 54 000ha of agricultural and forest land in Spain this year, exceeding the amount burned during the last two years combined, according to the agriculture ministry.

Most of the wildfires happened in July, which was the country's hottest month on record.

The average temperature in Spain last month was 26.5°C, the agency said on Wednesday.

August 2003 had previously been the hottest month on record with an average temperature of 26.2°C. 

Read more on:    spain  |  weather

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.