Friday 20 September 2019

Wildfires rage in Spain as Europe swelters in heatwave

A helicopter reloads water during a forest fire near Bovera, west of Tarragona, Spain, June 27, 2019. REUTERS/Albert Gea
A helicopter reloads water during a forest fire near Bovera, west of Tarragona, Spain, June 27, 2019. REUTERS/Albert Gea

Hundreds of firefighters were struggling to contain a wildfire in northeastern Spain that has spread over 5,500 hectares and forced 53 residents to leave their homes

A Spanish military unit with 120 specialists joined local firefighters who had worked overnight to control the blaze that sent thick plumes of smoke over hilly terrain near the Ebro River.

The fire comes amid a heatwave that is boosting temperatures across Europe.

Miquel Buch, the regional interior minister, said 20,000 hectares were under threat in what was the worst fire in the Catalonia region in two decades.

AFP_1HW8NZ.jpg
A resident points to a forest fire raging near Maials in the northeastern region of Catalonia on June 27, 2019 (Photo by Pau Barrena / AFP)PAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images

Mr Buch said authorities suspected the cause of the outbreak was a deposit of improperly stored chicken manure at a farm in the village of Torre de l'Espanyol which high temperatures caused to combust.

Television images showed horses and sheep incinerated on a farm that had stood in the path of the fire.

Five roads were closed to traffic in the rural area which is about 120km west of Barcelona.

PAIN-FIRE (23).jpg
Trees burn during a forest fire near Maials, west of Tarragona, Spain, June 27, 2019. REUTERS/Albert Gea TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Large parts of western and central Europe were sweltering in scorching weather, as authorities warned temperatures could top 40C in parts of the continent over coming days as a plume of dry, hot air moves north from Africa.

Firefighters said that temperatures over 30C (86F), low humidity, and high winds had fanned the wildfire flames.

PA Media

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News