Around 500 people have been evacuated from their homes due to a wildfire that has so far burned 8,500 hectares of land in the southwestern Spanish region of Extremadura, according to sources from local authorities on Saturday.
Spain’s Ministry of Ecological Transition has confirmed that 250 regional firefighters and 165 members of the Spanish Military’s Emergency Response Unit are currently fighting the blaze, along with the support of 10 earth-movers, six aircraft, eight helicopters, and 23 vehicles.
The fire broke out on Wednesday night in the ‘Las Hurdes’ region of Extremadura, a region where wildfires in July 2022 caused devastation of 5,000 hectares, and has spread out of control due to strong winds and dry conditions.
The villages of Cadalso, Descargamaria, Robledillo de Gata and some neighbourhoods of Torrecilla de Los Angeles and Ovejuela have been evacuated as a precautionary measure and three main roads have been closed.
Guillermo Fernandez Vara, President of the region of Extremadura, visited the affected area on Friday and said the fire was caused by “human or material resources,” but “wind and gusts of up to 60 km per hour are making it incredibly difficult to control the fire.”
According to data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), around 66,000 hectares of land have already been affected by wildfires in Spain in 2023. This follows the destruction of almost 310,000 hectares of land in 2022.
The Spanish government has recently approved a 2.2-billion-euro (2.38-billion-U.S.-dollar) package to help deal with the ongoing drought.