Jun 27, 2019

Spain fights huge forest fire as European heatwave intensifies

Tarragona
Spain
The forest fire burning in the municipality of Ribera d’Ebre, in Tarragona, Catalonia. Credit: Jaume Sellart/EPA
The forest fire burning in the municipality of Ribera d’Ebre, in Tarragona, Catalonia. Credit: Jaume Sellart/EPA

More than 500 firefighters and soldiers are working to bring a huge forest fire under control in north-eastern Spain as the early summer heatwave intensifies across Europe.

The fire, in the Catalan province of Tarragona, has been fanned by strong winds and high temperatures and has so far burned across 5,000 hectares (12,355 acres) of land.

Fifty-three residents have been evacuated from their homes, five roads remain cut off and the civil protection authorities have advised people not to enter the area unless absolutely necessary.

There are reports that hundreds of sheep have died in the smoke and flames.

“We’re facing a serious fire on a scale not seen for 20 years,” the region’s interior minister, Miquel Buch, said in a tweet. “It could burn through 20,000 hectares. Let’s be very aware that any carelessness could lead to a catastrophe.”