Spain's firefighters gain upper hand on some wildfires

AFP/The Local
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Spain's firefighters gain upper hand on some wildfires
Firefighters try to extinguish a wildfire next to the village of Tabara, near Zamora, northern Spain. (Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA / AFP)

Firefighting crews made progress on Thursday in their battle to contain dozens of wildfires in Spain as most of the country went back on alert for high temperatures, officials said.


A blaze near the northeast town of Ateca has seen a "positive" evolution, the regional government of Aragon said, having forced the evacuation of 1,7000 people and cut off the motorway linking Madrid to the country's second city of Barcelona.

"There have been some flareups which have been stamped out," the government tweeted.

The A2 motorway linking Madrid and Barcelona, which was cut near Ateca on Tuesday due to the blaze, reopened on Thursday.


"The return of the people who were evacuated to their homes is getting closer, but we must be prudent," the head of the regional government of Aragón, Javier Lambán, told reporters.

In the northwest province of Zamora a huge blaze which killed a firefighter and a shepherd was under control, regional officials said.

Forest fires raging across Spain have already broken annual records in terms of hectares destroyed, with another grim milestone for the highest number of wildfires in a single year set to follow, new EU data reveals.

READ MORE: Spain breaks wildfire records with summer heat far from over

The July 9th-18th heatwave was one of the most intense ever recorded in Spain in terms of its geographic extension and duration. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Wednesday that more than 500 people died as a result.

While temperatures eased slightly on Wednesday, meteorological agency AEMET expects the mercury to rise again on Thursday and has issued heat warnings for most of the country, forecasting 41C in the eastern region of Extremadura and 40C in Andalusia in the south.

The European Forest Fire Information System says 2022 has been the worst year in Spain for wildfires, with 319 blazes destroying 193,247 hectares since January 1st breaking the country's previous record in 2012 of 189,376 hectares destroyed.

MAP: Where are wildfires raging in Spain?


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