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WEATHER

Firefighters urge public to avoid Madrid bathing spot after blaze

People have been asked to stay away from the popular San Juan reservoir after a wildfire broke out nearby on Saturday afternoon.

Firefighters urge public to avoid Madrid bathing spot after blaze
Firefighters battle the blaze that broke out near the San Juan reservoir near Madrid on Saturday, July 31st, 2021. (Photo from 112 Comunidad Madrid)

Firefighters said Sunday they had managed to stabilise the blaze overnight but local authorities urged people to stay away from the reservoir, a popular bathing spot for residents of the Spanish capital.

Dozens of firefighters backed by water-dropping aircraft have been battling the wildfire that broke out on Saturday afternoon near the reservoir, which is about 70 kilometres (40 miles) east of Madrid.

The fire started in the nudist beach area, but strong winds caused it to spread rapidly, Spanish daily El Mundo reported.

The cause of the fire, which scorched an area of 50 hectares, remained unknown, but the Madrid area emergency services said in a tweet that forest rangers had started investigations.

The rangers also confirmed that the vegetation damaged was scrubland and some stone pine trees.

In Italy, meanwhile, more than 800 flare-ups were recorded this weekend, mainly in the south, according to Italy’s fire brigade, as fires continued to rage across parts of southern Europe.

Fires have also been ravaging other parts of southern Europe, including Greece and tourist hotspots in southern Turkey, where wildfires have claimed eight lives.

Fanned by soaring temperatures, strong winds and climate change — which experts say increases both the frequency and intensity of such blazes — this year’s fire season has been significantly more destructive than the previous average, EU data shows.

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WEATHER

Spain urges holidaymakers to head home early due to snow and strong wind warnings

Nine Spanish regions were put on alert on Tuesday for heavy snow, rain and strong winds, with the country's traffic authorities calling for people taking holidays this long weekend to head home early to avoid the worst of the bad weather.

Spain urges holidaymakers to head home early due to snow and strong wind warnings
Vehicles stuck in traffic due to a heavy snowfall near Burgos, northern Spain, in March 2021. Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP

Aragón, Castilla y León, Catalonia, Navarra and the Basque Country will be on orange alert from Tuesday for snow storms, while Asturias, Cantabria, La Rioja and La Comunidad Valenciana are on the less-severe yellow alert, Spain’s State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) announced.

A slight increase in temperatures will increase the risk of avalanches in the Pyrenees and the central Cantabrian mountain range.

Some roads in the north of the country are already being affected by snow and are being restricted to some traffic such as trucks and heavy vehicles.

Spain’s traffic authority (DGT) called on residents in the northern half of the country to return early from the puente (long weekend) marked by the public holidays of December 6 and 8, ahead of heavy snow forecast for Wednesday.

Of the 108 main roads affected by the heavy snow in Spain, almost half of them are in the northeastern region Aragón.

Aragón, Catalonia and Navarra are at risk of avalanches, according to data from Aemet, while a storm warning has been issued for the coastal areas of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, Catalonia and the Basque country.

Heavy rainfall is expected in Galicia, extending to Cantabria and the western Pyrenees.

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