2nd April 2023
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Despite rainfall, wildfire around Bejís in Valencia continues, as 35 aircraft deployed

A major wildfire continues to burn out of control around the Valencian municipality of Bejís, in the province of Castellón, becoming one of the biggest this year in Spain.

Despite some heavy rainfall on Thursday night, the fire that has already scorched more than 19,000 hectares along a 120 km perimeter continues to gather pace, as another fire started on Friday inside a nearby natural park.

Around 35 aircraft have now been deployed as the blaze entered its fifth day. The rain had boosted hopes that the fire could be brought under control on Thursday, but strong winds have made it ‘very aggressive’, the Valencian regional government’s justice chief said.

Over the past week, hundreds of firefighters have been battling two major wildfires raging out of control in the Valencia region.

Although the rain has now put an end to the Vall d’Ebo fire near Benidorm, the Bejís blaze some 70 km northwest of the city of Valencia has flared up again and is burning its way towards the Sierra Calderona natural park.

Spain’s UME military firefighting said on Twitter it had been an ‘intense night’ in Bejís, posting images of huge flames (see below).

Meanwhile, five people remain in hospital after suffering severe burns on Wednesday after several passengers tried to jump off a train that stopped and tried to go back amid surrounding flames, also in Valencia. The train had inadvertently headed into the fast-spreading wildfire.

The president of the Valencia government, Ximo Puig, has requested a report from firefighting services to clarify why the train was allowed to proceed through the burning area. ALSO READ: Three seriously injured after jumping from train halted by forest fire in Valencia region.

This year, wildfires in Spain have burned four times more than they did during the last decade.

Up to early August, 43 large wildfires (those affecting at least 500 hectares) were recorded in Spain by the Ministry for Ecological transition, while the average in previous years was 11.

The European Forest Fire Information System estimates a burned surface of 284,764 hectares in Spain this year. That’s four times higher than the average since records began in 2006.

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