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Firefighters battle wild blazes across Spain

Staff reporter · 23 Aug 2013, 09:23

Published: 23 Aug 2013 09:23 GMT+02:00

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The central government sent water-dumping aircraft and personnel to help fight a total of 15 wildfires in central and northwestern Spain, the environment ministry said in a statement.

In Tres Cantos, a village north of Madrid, a blaze left a car charred and burnt out and cloaked the area in thick grey smoke, an AFP photographer saw.

Regional emergency services said on Twitter that that blaze was being brought under control late on Thursday and that 40 people had been evacuated but no injuries were reported.

In Majorca, authorities "officially declared the forest fire under control today at 5:00pm (1500 GMT)" on the northeast of the island, the regional government said in a statement.

"Good weather conditions today have allowed the fire to be controlled," but work will continue over the coming days to put it out for good, it added.

That fire had burned 480 hectares (1,180 acres) of which 95 percent was scrubland and five percent pine forest, the statement said.

About 200 people and 50 homes had been evacuated in the area on Wednesday, a regional official said, but they were later reported to have returned to their homes.

Spain is highly prone to forest fires in summer because of soaring temperatures, strong winds and dry vegetation.

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Last year wildfires destroyed more than 150,000 hectares of land in Spain from January to July, after one of the driest winters on record.

This year the winter was wetter and there have been fewer summer fires so far.

Another fire on Majorca last month burned 2,335 hectares of ground, much of it in the Sierra de Tramuntana, a UNESCO-listed mountainous region.

Staff reporter (news@thelocal.com)

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