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Tourists evacuated as forest fires engulf city of Valencia

02 July 2012

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Spain -At least three thousand people have been evacuated from the popular tourist area of Valencia as the worst forest fires for more than a decade scorch Eastern Spain.

Civilians and tourists were forced to leave the area as clouds of smoke and ash engulfed the city.

Up to 45,000 hectares of land may have already been destroyed by the two uncontrollable forest fires along the Eastern coast not far from Valencia.

The first fire in Cortes de Palla in Valencia was sparked during work to fit solar panels on homes in the area, whilst a second fire broke out in Andilla on Saturday.

Spain’s tourism sector represents around 10 percent of the country’s economic output yet it is not yet known how tourists will be affected.

The news only serves to add to the distress of a country that has already had to tackle 10 big forest fires this year, and which saw 50,000 hectares of land destroyed in the first five months of this year.

High temperatures of almost 40 degrees Celsius were experienced in the week leading up to the fire in many parts of the country, putting authorities on maximum alert for forest fires.

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