Spanish police arrest suspected wildfire arsonist

8th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Police have detained a man whom they suspect set one of the wildfires raging in eastern Spain that have ravaged more than 2,500 hectares (6,000 acres), a police spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The man was arrested late on Tuesday in the town of Ontinyent located some 80 kilometres (50 miles) southwest of Valencia which was been badly affected by the wildfires, the spokeswoman said.

Forecasts of weaker winds in the region are expected to help firefighters douse the three wildfires that remained active in the region on Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the regional government of Valencia said.

"The weather conditions, with less wind, are favourable for the efforts to extinguish the fires," she said.

Hundreds of firefighters backed by soldiers and civilian volunteers along with water-dropping planes and helicopters have been battling the blazes since early Tuesday.

Spain's Defence Minister Carme Chacon, who visited the region on Tuesday, described the wildfire raging around the towns of Ontinyent and Bocairent as "one of the fiercest" anywhere in the country so far this year.

Firefighters were also battling another wildfire which was raging further south in the region of Murcia which has so far charred more than 900 hectares (2,200 acres) of pine trees and scrubland, the Murcia regional government said.

© 2010 AFP

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