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Wildfires in Spain and Southern Europe

40.2N 5W

July 28th, 2009 Category: Fires

Fires in Spain - July 27th, 2009

Fires in Spain - July 27th, 2009

Firefighters have been battling wildfires across southern Europe for several days. Thousands of acres of woodland in Spain, France, Greece and Italy have been destroyed by fires fuelled by high temperatures and strong winds.

In Spain, where six firefighters died, four fires are burning, but blazes in Aragon and Catalonia have been extinguished. A state of alert remains, with high temperatures and strong winds forecast, reports the BBC.

This image focuses on a blaze in the Sierra de Gredos mountain range in the centre of the Iberian Peninsula. The smoke from the fire can be seen at the center left, amidst the green of the mountain forests. This plume of smoke is not to be confused, however, with the clouds dotting the right side of the image.

More than 50 blazes broke out on Sunday in Greece, where temperatures rose over 40C, including one that trapped 70 beach-goers on the island of Zakynthos who had to be evacuated by boats.

In the north-eastern Spanish region of Aragon, where more than 11,700 hectares (28,900 acres) has been burnt, firefighters said three fires had been brought under control and that they were close to doing so with three other active blazes.

However, a fire which appeared to have been brought under control near the town of Las Hurdes in Extremadura flared up overnight due to strong winds, forcing 500 people to be evacuated and 400 firefighters to be deployed.

Meanwhile in Italy, the blazes which left two people dead last week have been brought under control, with the exception of one in a nature reserve on Sicily, officials say. As many as 25,000 hectares (60,000 acres) were devastated on Sardinia by four fires, fanned by high temperatures and strong winds.

French firefighters are also continuing to battle a major wildfire near Aullene on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, which has so far destroyed 3,500 hectares (8,650 acres) of land.

Officials believe some of the fires in Corsica were deliberately lit and three people have been arrested on suspicion of arson. More than 15 people suspected of starting wildfires are reported to have been arrested in Spain.

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