Fri 24 March 2023:
Around 1,500 people are still unable to go home as a wildfire rages in a mountainous area of eastern Spain on Friday.
The first significant wildfire of the year tore through the area’s dry forest on Thursday, forcing residents of eight Valencian towns and two Aragonese towns to leave their homes.
The fire spread quickly due to the strong winds and stifling temperatures, which on Thursday in Valencia exceeded 30 C (86 F).
On Friday morning, police reported that it had burned through at least 1,000 hectares. (2,471 acres).
“These are difficult moments… The most important thing is human lives,” Valencia President Ximo Puig said on Thursday night, adding that 18 more firefighting aircraft would join the battle against the flames on Friday.
Large areas around Spain’s Mediterranean coast are at extreme risk of forest fires, and conditions will only worsen through Sunday, according to Spain’s meteorology agency AEMET.
Last week, AEMET declared that Spain was in a long-term drought after another abnormally warm winter.
Additionally, it foresees warmer temperatures this spring and summer, increasing the likelihood of another active fire season.
According to EUMETSAT, wildfire activity in Spain and Portugal in 2022 reached unprecedented levels in late July and early August as a result of a record-breaking heat wave and severe drought conditions.
The Portuguese government issued a similar warning on Tuesday, stating that the wildfire season this summer may be even worse.
SOURCE: INDEPENDENT PRESS AND NEWS AGENCIES
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