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Spain’s first major wildfire of the season forces 1,500 from their homes

Spain’s first major wildfire of the season forces 1,500 from their homes
Large areas around Spain’s Mediterranean coast at extreme risk of forest fires

By Alyssa McMurtry

OVIEDO, Spain (AA) - As a wildfire continues to rage Friday in a mountainous region in eastern Spain, around 1,500 people are still unable to return home.

Residents of eight towns in Valencia and two in Aragon were forced to flee their homes on Thursday as the first major wildfire of the year ripped through the area’s dry forest.

Strong winds and sweltering temperatures – exceeding 30 C (86 F) in the city of Valencia on Thursday – helped the fire spread rapidly.

Police reported on Friday morning that it had burned through at least 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres).

“These are difficult moments… The most important thing is human lives,” Valencia President Ximo Puig said on Thursday night, adding that 18 more firefighting aircraft would join the battle against the flames on Friday.

Large areas around Spain’s Mediterranean coast are at extreme risk of forest fires, and conditions will only worsen through Sunday, according to Spain’s meteorology agency AEMET.

Last week, AEMET declared that Spain was in a long-term drought after another abnormally warm winter.

It also predicts that this spring and summer will be hotter than usual, upping the chances for another intense fire season.

In 2022, Spain and Portugal experienced unprecedented wildfire activity in late July and early August, after a record-breaking heat wave combined with severe drought conditions, according to EUMETSAT.

On Tuesday, the Portuguese government also warned that this summer’s wildfire season could be even worse.

source: News Feed
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