Wildfires rage in Catalonia as heatwave continues to hit Spain

by IANS |

Madrid, June 17 (IANS) Three wildfires continue to burn out of control in the community of Catalonia in northeast Spain, the region's fire services have confirmed.

Fires in Artesa de Segre and Castellar de la Ribera in the province of Lleida, and in Corbera d'Ebre in neighboring Tarragona have already devastated 1,100 hectares of land, despite the efforts of the Fire Department, which has deployed 155 fire engines, aircraft and helicopters to combat the blaze.

Local firefighters have been joined by members of the Military Emergency Unit (UME) of the Spanish Ministry of Defense, Xinhua news agency reported.

Bernat Sole, the Spanish government's delegate in Lleida, has asked for farmers to plough fields in the region to help create firebreaks.

The daytime temperature in Lleida has reached 42 degrees Centigrade in recent days as Spain has been basking in the hottest June heatwave in 20 years. All but one of the country's 17 autonomous communities have been placed on alert due to the extreme hot weather, which is expected to last until at least Saturday.

A recent fire on the south coast close to the tourist resort of Marbella has destroyed around 3,500 hectares of woodland. The country's water reservoirs are currently at 48 percent capacity, 10 percent below their 2021 levels and 20 percent below the average of the past 10 years.

This year, 19,000 hectares of wood and scrubland have already been affected by wildfires in the country, twice as much as in recent years, the local television network RTVE reported.

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