Forest fire in Spain forces more than 1500 people to evacuate homes and camp grounds

The fires come approximately a week after of widespread forest fires in Portugal that killed 64 people and led the Portuguese government to declare a national three-day period of mourning.

Linda Mack | Jun 27, 2017

   

Firefighter units amassed in the Andalucia region of southern Spain this weekend to contain out-of-control fires. The fire forced more than 1,500 local campers and residents to flee before making its way into the Doana national park, a national wildlife reserve and UNESCO Heritage Site that shelters many endangered animal species, including the Spanish imperial eagle and Iberian lynx.

Witnesses first reported the blaze Saturday night near the Andalucian town of Huelva. By Sunday morning, emergency responders had arrived in 11 airplanes, 10 helicopters, and dozens of land vehicles. Emergency services had designated the blaze a level 1or maximum-level threat.

Jos Fiscal, environment minister for the Andaluca regional government, told reporters on Sunday that the fire was likely the result of arson. But Andalucia residents remain on alert due to an ongoing heat wave and a regionwide drought, which both make the whole region more susceptible to fire outbreaks. Windy conditions are also fueling the fire and making it difficult to get it fully under control, according to Antonio Sanz, government delegate in Andaluca.

Some of the evacuated residents have returned to their properties. But emergency services said that around 750 people are taking temporary shelter in sports centers.

Firefighters are now focusing their efforts on the wildlife reserve, Jose Gregorio Fiscal Lopez from the regional Andalusian authority in charge of the environment told Spanish national television. There is no word yet on the extent of damage to the park or loss of wildlife.

The fires come approximately a week after of widespread forest fires in Portugal that killed 64 people and led the Portuguese government to declare a national three-day period of mourning.

 

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