Spain battles forest fires in north-west

#Spain #battles #forest #fires #northwest

Spanish firefighters struggled to contain wildfires that have devastated large areas in the northwest on Saturday as a third summer heatwave sweeps the country.

Firefighters battled six fires in Galicia that have scorched nearly 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres).

Around 700 people were evacuated from the area around Boiro, where a fire broke out on Thursday, according to regional officials.

So far, however, no casualties have been reported.

“The situation remains complicated. Helicopters are not enough to inspect all homes,” wrote the mayor of neighboring A Pobra do Caraminal, Xose Lois Pinero, on Facebook.

Near the town of Verin on the border with Portugal, authorities managed to contain a fire that started on Wednesday and is believed to be arson, the Galician government said.

Temperatures peaked at 40.9 degrees Celsius (105.62 Fahrenheit) on Thursday, according to the national weather agency. They have since eased but were expected to remain around 35C across much of the country on Saturday.

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 faced 366 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 more than 233,000 hectares, more than in any other country in Europe.

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