Hundreds battling spreading blaze

29th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

29 July 2004, HUELVA - Hundreds of fire-fighters were Thursday battling raging fires which have destroyed thousands of hectares of forests in western Spain.

29 July 2004

HUELVA - Hundreds of fire-fighters were Thursday battling raging fires which have destroyed thousands of hectares of forests in western Spain.

Since the fires started Tuesday, some 14,000 hectares (34,500 acres) of forests, scrubland and pastures have been reduced to ash in the Huelva region not far  from the Portuguese border, according to the local fire services Infoca.

Some 550 fire-fighters were still trying to bring the blaze under control early Thursday with the help of some 40 aircraft.

One thousand people living in six villages in the path of the blazes have been evacuated since the fire started.

It is now spreading to the region of Seville.

Police have not ruled out that it might have been deliberately started.

A total of 41,084 hectares (101,000 acres) have gone up in smoke in Spain since January 1, which is 9,000 (22,200 acres) more than over the same period last year, according to the environment ministry.

Two people were burnt to death when their car became surrounded by flames. 

Meanwhile, there were serious forest fires in Portugal where some 400 fire-fighters backed by 98 vehicles and several water-bombing planes were on a virtual war-footing in Loule and Almodovar, in the popular southern tourist region of the Algarve.

The team were hoping to encircle the flames during the day, said Antonio Santos from the national rescue centre.

The worst affected areas were in the Algarve, but weathermen are predicting a fall in temperatures after a mini-heatwave at the beginning of the week.

Four firefighters have been injured and dozens of homes have been destroyedin Portugal since the wildfires began Saturday when temperatures reached 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit).

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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