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Hundreds flee as wildfires rage

Published 05/07/2015

Firefighters in Spain and Portugal are tackling wildfires sparked by hot weather
Firefighters in Spain and Portugal are tackling wildfires sparked by hot weather

More than 1,350 residents have been evacuated in Spain as a wildfire spread through a pine forest amid a lingering heat wave.

Five villages in the Aragon region were evacuated as flames devoured hills that are 230 miles northeast of Madrid, said Javier Lamban, the president of Aragon. The evacuees, who included residents of a retirement home, were transferred to nearby towns.

About 500 firefighters and almost 100 pieces of equipment, including aircraft, were fighting the flames today, which were being fanned by windy conditions.

The fire, which broke out yesterday afternoon, has already burned close to 8,000 hectares (19,770 acres) of forest in a remote area, according to Ministry of Agriculture and Environment spokesman Modesto Lobon.

Also, the fire department in the north-eastern region of Catalonia said it was combating a wildfire that had broken out in Cardedeu, 25 miles north of Barcelona, and had destroyed two houses and several cars, although no one was injured.

Weather stations across Spain had warned people to take extra precautions as a heatwave that was due to engulf much of the country for an extended period of time increased the risk of wildfires.

Spain's meteorological agency predicts that hot weather across the Iberian Peninsula, with temperatures reaching 40C (104F), will last another week.

In Portugal, the National Civil Protection Authority said almost 100 firefighters were tackling a wildfire that broke out yesterday in the forests of Alcobertas, north of Lisbon.

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