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Spain evacuates 1,400 as wildfire rages along Costa Blanca

6 September 2016 15:19


Hundreds of people have been evacuated and vast swaths of land destroyed due to a wildfire raging along the Costa Blanca in eastern Spain.

The Spanish government’s delegate to the eastern region of Valencia, Juan Carlos Moragues, said on Twitter on Monday that some 1400, people have been evacuated

Local emergency services said the fire also demolished several buildings and 320 hectares (790 acres) of land after it erupted on Sunday near the Mediterranean resort of Javea.

An emergency services spokeswoman said the spread of the blaze, which was attributed to the intense heat and low humidity levels, had been largely contained by Monday night.

“The situation is no longer deteriorating; they have stopped the fire,” she said, adding that firefighters would continue their working the affected areas.

However, some Spanish authorities say the wildfire appears to have erupted in several places simultaneously, raising speculations that it had been started deliberately.

“This is environmental terrorism, it goes beyond putting at risk our natural heritage, it directly attacks people,” Ximo Puig, the head of the regional government of Valencia, said.

Firefighters fight a wildfire next to a residential area along the coastline near the Spanish resort of Javea, Valencia region, on September 5, 2016. ©AFP

Spanish officials warned that most of the country face an “extreme risk” of wildfires due to the heat, with temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in some parts.

The Interior Ministry said the scorching heat would continue at least until Wednesday, calling on people not to throw cigarette stubs and glass bottles to the ground in scrubland.

“Negligence caused the majority of forest fires,” the statement added.

Wildfires are common in Spain during the hot summer months. But the large fires this year was fewer compared to the previous years.

The Agriculture Ministry said the wildfires burned 39,700 hectares of land between January and August in 2016.

The average of land destroyed in wildfires for that period has been 78,743 hectares since 2006.

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