Spain battles to douse forest fire

Spain battles to douse forest fire

10 August 2005

publishedby CNN

MADRID, Spain (AP) — Firefighters and water-dropping aircraft have renewed efforts to douse fires that have burned about 4,000 hectares (9,900 acres) of forest in a national park in southern Spain.

A Spanish firefighter battles a blaze near the border with Portugal.

Two of the three fires that broke out in the Sierra de Cazorla region in Jaen province had been brought under control by midday Tuesday, the state-run news agency Efe reported.

However, about 300 specialists were still working to tame the largest of the blazes.

A total of 38 firefighting aircraft resumed their efforts Tuesday to smother the fire, believed to have been sparked by lightning. The blazes started late Sunday, and some 430 people have been evacuated from the area as a precaution, Efe said.

Spain is experiencing its driest summer since record-keeping began in the 1940s, and has seen more than 50,000 hectares (123,550 acres) of woodland ruined by about 5,000 forest fires so far this year.

The Environment Ministry said Tuesday that the country’s reservoirs currently hold only 45.9 percent of their total water capacity — down from 47.3 percent a week ago.

In neighboring Portugal, a fire in one of Europe’s biggest pine forests near Vila Pouca de Aguiar in the northern Vila Real district has been brought under control.


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