Forest Fires hit Spain and Portugal

Forest Fires hit Spain and Portugal

7 August 2000

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes as fires sweep through northeast Spain and central Portugal. In Spain, several hundred residents in the Catalonian region of Alt Emporda and in the town of Garriguella were evacuated as strong winds fanned the flames. Teams of firefighters, some of them drafted in from neighbouring France, used 12 specialised aircraft but were still unable to bring the blaze, which began on Sunday morning, under control. It is believed the fire began when the burning of a waste mound went out of control. Officials said their chances of controlling the fire depended on the winds dying down. It is estimated that at least 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) of wood and scrubland has been destroyed. There are no reports of any injuries. Fires, fueled by high temperatures and drought, destroy large stretches of forest in Spain each year. Last week, authorities estimated that 11,000 hectares had so far been consumed by fire throughout the country.

Meanwhile, firefighters are also battling blazes near the Portugese towns of Casal de Cima and Fonte Limpa. Dozens of hectares of pine and eucalyptus forest and at least two homes near Casal de Cima have been destroyed.

(Information Source: © CNN, The Associated Press & Reuters, 7 August 2000)

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