Fifth firefighter dies as Spain wildfires rage

24th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

The 50-year-old firefighter was driving a fire engine in the Aragon region when the vehicle fell into a ravine.

Madrid – Another firefighter died Thursday as he and hundreds of colleagues fought wild fires fed by strong winds raging out of control in northeast Spain, said officials.

The 50-year-old was driving a fire engine in the Aragon region when the vehicle fell into a ravine, a statement from the local government said.

He was the fifth firefighter to die this week, after four of his colleagues perished in the neighbouring region of Catalonia Tuesday.

Six fires in the northeast province of Teruel, in Aragon, remained out of control having burned more than 8,000 hectares (20,000 acres) of forest and brush, the regional government said.

More than 500 firefighters and members of the security forces were seeking to bring the blazes under control, having evacuated more than 1,500 people from their homes, officials said.

A regional government statement said the fires were believed to have been started by storms on Tuesday across the Aragon region.

Strong winds meant the fires would remain a danger throughout Thursday, it said.

Portugal announced Thursday that it was sending a water bombing aircraft to help fight the fires.

The plane and its crew will be based in the central city of Matacan and will return to Portugal immediately if required, the Portuguese civil emergency authorities said in a statement.

Four firemen were killed and two injured as they battled one wildfire at Horta St Joan in Catalonia on Tuesday and the blaze remained out of control 48 hours later. More than 1,100 hectares (2,700 acres) have been destroyed.

Other smaller fires stretched the emergency services in Navarro and the Basque region in the north, Valencia in the east and Castilla-La Mancha in central Spain.

The fires had halted high-speed train services between Madrid and Zaragoza and Barcelona, though rail traffic was gradually being restarted Thursday.

AFP / Expatica

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