'Aggressive' winds fuel wildfire that has blazed for days in Spain

A second, smaller fire has also broken out in the same area, Spanish officials say

Hundreds of firefighters have been battling two major wildfires in the Valencia region of eastern Spain.. Getty
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A wildfire burning out of control in Spain gathered pace again early on Friday as firefighters battled for a fifth day to contain it, officials said.

About 35 planes have joined the effort to tackle the inferno that has ripped through more than 19,000 hectares of land, making it one of the largest in Spain this summer.

Heavy rainfall had dampened the fire but it flared up again Friday and a second, smaller fire also broke out in the same area, Spanish officials said.

Strong winds made the fire “very aggressive,” the Valencia regional government’s justice chief said.

Hundreds of firefighters were battling two major wildfires in the Valencia region of eastern Spain.

The Bejis blaze, which began on Monday, is the one that restarted. The Vall d'Ebo, which ignited on Saturday, has been extinguished. From both fires, about 3,000 people have been evacuated.

Early on Friday, another blaze began at Olocau inside the Sierra Calderona park, 40 kilometres south-east of Bejis, emergency services officials said.

“The fire advanced slowly during the night except in … areas to the south-east where it has raged more aggressively,” the emergency services tweeted. “There are flames all along the perimeter,” it added.

The UME military firefighting group said on Twitter it had been an “intense night” in Bejis, posting images of huge flames.

“It's a very big fire with a perimeter stretching more than 120 kilometres so we are using all the means we have to contain the fire,” said Mariano Hernandez, a provincial fire chief.

So far this year, Spain has been hit by 391 wildfires, the latest figures from the European Forest Fire Information System show.

The fires have destroyed more than three times the area consumed by wildfires in the whole of 2021, which totalled over 84,000 hectares, the figures show

Updated: August 19, 2022, 12:17 PM
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