Early wildfire forces evacuation of 1,750 in eastern Spain
Castellón, Spain, Mar 24 (EFE).- Spain’s first major forest fire of the year has scorched 30 square kilometers of land and forced the evacuation of 1,750 residents in the Mediterranean province of Castellón, authorities said Friday.
Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sánchez said the government would use all resources necessary to tackle the blaze, which remained out of control amid dry and windy conditions in the eastern Spain region.
Authorities believe the fire could have been started by accident during routine agricultural burning.
Efforts to tame the flames are being hampered by unseasonably high temperatures upward of 20C (68F) and strong gusts of wind, emergency services have warned.
Extinguishing efforts are being further complicated by the uneven topography of the region, which is characterized by ravines covered in vegetation.
At least 18 firefighting planes and 400 ground workers have been deployed to the site of the wildfire, which is affecting an area near the town of Villanueva de Viver.
The region has reported less than half its normal rainfall in recent months, which has led to tinder box conditions.
Wildfires are a common occurrence in Spain, but the peak season usually coincides with the soaring summer temperatures in June, July and August.
Last year, Spain witnessed a record wildfire season in terms of hectares burned according to the data collated by the European Union’s forest fire information system since 2003.EFE