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Firefighters battle fires in north-west Spain – Science-Environment News – Report by AFR

Firefighters, supported by more than 20 planes, were battling a wildfire in north-west Spain that appears to have been started intentionally, local authorities said on Thursday.

Fueled by strong winds and a heat wave, the fire has already destroyed around 600 hectares of forest and scrubland in Galicia, the regional government said in a statement.

“Everything indicates that it was launched intentionally,” it said.

The fire broke out in several spots on Wednesday near the town of Verin, near the border with Portugal, which is experiencing its worst drought in a century.

Authorities said the fire poses no threat to “inhabited areas” at this time.

Scientists say human-caused climate change is making extreme weather events like heat waves and droughts more frequent and intense. They, in turn, increase the risk of fires that release climate-warming greenhouse gases.

Spain has battled 354 wildfires since the start of the year, fueled by scorching temperatures and drought conditions.

According to the European Union’s satellite monitoring service EFFIS, the blazes have destroyed almost 230,000 hectares, more than in any other country in Europe.

Since the weekend, much of Spain has been caught up in the third heat wave since June.

Temperatures are expected to rise above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in the south and east on Thursday.

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