3,000 hectares of forests burn in Spain wildfire

As fire raged in the eastern Valencia region on Friday, destroying more than 3,000 hectares of forests and forcing 1,500 residents to abandon their homes, firefighters worked to extinguish the flames of Spain’s first major wildfire this year, Spanish authorities reported.

Footage from several sources showed firefighters running towards a house where flames were approaching, and the fighters trying to control the wildfire as well as the area of the region covered in flames and smoke.

A hard rescue operation

More than 500 firefighters supported by 18 planes and helicopters worked throughout the night and on Friday to tackle the blaze near the village of Villanueva de Viver.

Emergency services evacuated eight communities, the regional head of interior affairs Gabriela Bravo reported.

More wildfires than normal

An unusually dry winter across parts of the south of the European continent has reduced moisture in the soil and raised fears of a repeat of 2022, when 785,000 hectares were destroyed in Europe - more than double the annual average for the past 16 years, according to European Commission (EC) statistics.

In Spain, 493 fires destroyed a record 307,000 hectares of land last year, according to the Commission’s European Forest Fire Information System.