Spain: Villages evacuated as wildfire burns 9,000 hectares

June 17, 2022 GMT

MADRID (AP) — Officials say some 9,000 hectares of wooded hill land in northwestern Spain have been burnt by a wildfire that forced the evacuation of more than 650 people from eight villages on Friday as much of Europe suffered an early heatwave.

Officials said the blaze in the Sierra de Culebra mountain range in the province of Zamora started Wednesday during a dry electric storm.

Elsewhere in Spain, smaller wildfires were also raging in central Toledo province and in the northeastern provinces of Zaragoza and Lleida.

Daniel Rovira, mayor of Lladurs town, described the Lleida fire that has burned some 2,000 hectares (5,000 acres) as “brutal.” He warned that it could spread over 50,000 hectares (124,000 acres) if it was not brought under control soon.

Most of Spain was at high risk of forest fire Friday as the country endured a sixth day of a unusually early heatwave. Temperatures of more than 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) have been recorded in many cities and other areas throughout the week. Officials expect the torrid heat to begin to ease on Sunday.