Wildfires have so far burnt more than 22,000 hectares of woodland and scrub in Spain since the start of the heatwave over a week ago, emergency services stated.
Temperatures above 44 degrees centigrade in southern and southwestern Spain and around 40 degrees centigrade for the rest of the country, coming on the back of exceptionally hot and dry months of May and June, have produced the perfect conditions for the wildfires to spread.
In southwestern Spain’s autonomous community Extremadura, the fire in the comarca of Las Hurdes remains out of control, while a new fire broke out on Saturday in the comarca of Valle de Jerte, which the Regional Government of Extremadura said: “started in an absolutely deliberate manner.”
In neighbouring autonomous community Andalusia, a fire near the tourist resort of Mijas has so far destroyed around 3,000 hectares of woodland and led to some 2,000 people being evacuated from their homes, although
Spokesperson for Agriculture and Immigration of the Government of Andalusia Carmen Crespo said there are reasons to believe the fire “didn’t start through natural causes.”
“We will have to see if it was through negligence or deliberately started,” said Crespo, noting firemen are trying to extinguish two different focal points.
In northwestern Spain’s autonomous community Galicia, authorities are trying to deal with seven different wildfires in the capital of Ourense, which have reportedly damaged several homes.
In northeastern Spain’s autonomous community Catalonia, roads have been cut and some people evacuated from their homes in the municipality of El Pont de Viloria. The Catalan fire service has asked other residents to remain indoors.
No fatalities have so far been reported due to the wildfires, while three firemen were sent to hospital for treatment, two of them out of heat exhaustion, and the third because of a road accident that occurred on their way to a fire.
The temperatures in Spain are expected to fall slightly in the next 48 hours and then climb back to around 40 degrees centigrade.