Hundreds evacuated as Spain’s fire season starts early
March 24, 2023 By The Associated Press
MADRID (AP) — Hundreds of people were evacuated as a major forest fire raged in Spain’s eastern Castellon region on Friday, marking an early start to the nation’s fire season amid bone dry conditions.
Ximo Puig, the president of the Valencia region that incorporates Castellon, told reporters the fire had engulfed around 1,000 hectares of land since it broke out Thursday, and was “very early in the spring, very voracious from the beginning.”
Emergency services in the region said 600 people in eight towns had been evacuated, including a home for older people in Montan.
Puig added that the effects of climate change “are undeniable, so the perspective of firefighting must be considered on an annual basis.”
As of early Friday, four helicopters and more than 600 firefighters and soldiers were tackling the fire, as the Spanish military deployed additional support to try to bring the blaze under control.
The state weather agency, AEMET, tweeted that “unfavorable weather conditions, especially considering the early date of the year, have favored the (fire’s) rapid spread.” Temperatures were above 25 Celsius (77 Fahrenheit) when the fire broke out, and relative humidity sank below 30% following an unusually dry winter in the area.
The risk of more fires in Castellon was classified as “extreme” on Friday.