Wildfires rage across northern Spain in Asturias, Cantabria and Basque Country

Wildfires rage across northern Spain in Asturias, Cantabria and Basque Country
Flames in Vibaño, near Llanes (Asturias). Photo: Vidal @viditocho.
Firefighters were battling close to 100 separate forest fires across the northern region of Asturias on Monday morning as strong winds and dry conditions helped the fires spread.

Emergency military firefighter troops have also been called in to aid the already 200 firefighters trying to bring the blazes under control.

Fires were reported in some 30 of the 78 municipalities in the northern region with the worst outbreaks reported in Narcea, Somiedo, Tineo and Allande.

Unseasonably low rainfall has left the forests dry and vulnerable to wildfires but the blazes are mostly affecting rural areas.

Several power lines have been affected by the fires, cutting the supply to small pockets in rural areas of Asturias and some secondary roads have been closed due to the proximity of flames.

The fires were being fed by strong southerly winds, with gusts of up to 100 kilometres (60 miles) an hour, and unusually warm temperatures for this time of the year, local officials said. No injuries were reported.   

Temperatures hit 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) on Sunday in Gijon, the largest city in Asturias, according to national weather office Aemet.

All of Asturias faced either an “very high” or “extreme” risk of wildfires on Monday, the region's government said.   

The president of the regional government of Cantabria, Miguel Angel Revilla, urged locals to be vigilant, warning that Tuesday's forecast was for more “very strong winds” from the south.

Spain is prone to wildfires in summer, especially in the more arid southern regions and along its Mediterranean coastline.   

But such incidents are unusual in winter, especially in rainier northern regions such as Asturias and Cantabria.

Around 20 wildfires were also reported to be burning in neighbouring Cantabria and the Basque Country.


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