One dead as fires rage in Spain

One dead as fires rage in Spain

03 July 2012

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Spain — A helicopter pilot has been killed as one of the worst forest fires in a decade continues to ravage eastern Spain.

TWO fires have raged to the west of Valencia since last week, devouring about 50,000 hectares of vegetation. More than 3000 people were evacuated, though many of them have now returned home.

Rescuers on Tuesday continued searching for the body of a pilot whose helicopter plunged into the Forata water reservoir on Monday.

Another helicopter also crashed, but its two occupants were hospitalised. The reasons for the accidents were not immediately known.

Firefighters have been using dozens of aircraft and helicopters over the past few days.

Two people were detained on charges of sparking the fires by negligence, one during installation of solar panels and the other while burning underbrush.

Winds, low humidity and high temperatures hampered the battle against the fires on Tuesday.

Firefighters, meanwhile, stabilised fires in Castile La Mancha and Murcia in the south, which consumed about 7000 hectares of pine forest. About 200 people who had been evacuated returned home.

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