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Spain continues to fight severe forest fires

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Madrid, Aug 16 (Ajit Weekly News) Firefighting teams in Spain have continued to battle a number of severe forest fires across the country.

A fire about 60 km north-east of Alicante has destroyed about 6,500 hectares of forest since August 13, according to the state TV station RTVE.

Around 1,200 people in the area of the town of Pego had to leave their homes as a precaution, reports dpa news agency.

In the autonomous community of Valencia there were two more smaller-scale wildfires.

Another large forest fire raged around the town of Anon de Moncayo, west of the city of Zaragoza in Aragon. About 1,500 people had to leave their homes there at the weekend but many have now returned.

The fire is not yet under control and has so far destroyed about 6,000 hectares after previous estimates of 8,000.

In contrast, the situation has eased somewhat near Murcia in the south following a fire which RTVE said had been caused by a lightning strike.

The most devastating forest fire since the beginning of the year in Spain near Zamora, close to the border with Portugal, was brought under control over the weekend, according to the reports.

Since July 17, 31,500 hectares of forest and scrubland have been destroyed in the fire and two people have died.

A drought that has lasted for months, great heat, which experts attribute to climate change, and very dry air have combined to cause new fires to break out across the country. Several other southern European nations have seen similar fires.

The risk of forest fires remains “extremely high” in parts of the Spanish regions of Andalusia, Aragon and Catalonia, the EU’s Copernicus forest fire information system warned on Twitter.

2022 is already the most devastating forest fire year for Spain since records began, with over 380 forest fires recorded.

In the EU overall, the total area burned this year is at a record level.

According to data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), nearly 660,000 hectares have burned as of August 13.

Records began being tallied in 2006 and the average area burned per year has been just under 190,000 hectares, with the previous high at just under 421,000 hectares.

The data shows more than 245,000 hectares have burned in Spain alone so far this year.

In France, the figure is 61,000 hectares and in Germany almost 4,300 hectares.

–Ajit Weekly News

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