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Spain: Forest fires continue and threaten natural park – Science-Environment News – Report by AFR

A major wildfire in eastern Spain that has devastated large swathes of land picked up steam overnight after flaring up again despite heavy rains when another broke out at a nearby natural park on Friday, officials said.

So far this year, Spain has suffered nearly 400 wildfires after intense heat waves and long dry spells devastated more than 283,000 hectares of land, more than triple the total area destroyed in 2021.

Over the past week, hundreds of firefighters have been battling two large, out-of-control wildfires in the Valencia region, with heavy rain providing respite and almost completely dousing the blazes.

Although it ended the Vall d’Ebo fire near Benidorm, the Bejis fire flared up again about 70 kilometers (45 miles) northwest of the city of Valencia and burned its way towards the Sierra Calderona Natural Park.

It has already destroyed 19,000 hectares of land.

“The fire has progressed slowly throughout the night except in… areas in the southeast where it has been more aggressive,” emergency services tweeted, indicating that 35 aerial firefighting teams were trying to contain the blaze.

“There are flames all around the perimeter,” it added.

The UME Military Fire Brigade said on Twitter it had been an “intense night” in Bejis and released images of huge blazes.

“It is a very large fire, more than 120 kilometers in circumference, so we have used all means to contain the fire,” Mariano Hernandez, one of the province’s fire chiefs, told public television.

Another fire started early Friday in Olocau in Sierra Calderona Park, about 40 kilometers southeast of Bejis, emergency services said.

It added that local residents had been “restricted to their homes as a preventive measure”.

The Vall d’Ebo fire started on Saturday and the Bejis fire two days later, causing a total of about 3,000 people to be evacuated.

So far this year, Spain has been hit by 391 forest fires, according to the latest figures from the European Forest Fire Information System.

The fires have destroyed more than three times the area consumed by wildfires in all of 2021, which totaled over 84,000 hectares, the figures show.

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