23rd February 2024
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Winds from Storm Ciarán stoke a wildfire in Valencia, with 850 evacuated

A wildfire stoked by storm winds in the Valencia region has burned some 2,000 hectares of land and forced the evacuation of over 850 people from four towns, officials said on Friday.

The people were evacuated from the municipalities of Terrateig, Castellonet de la Conquesta and other residential areas, including the residents of a mental health centre in the village of Ador, local officials told public television TVE.

Some 200 firefighters and army emergency unit soldiers were deployed to try to extinguish the day-old blaze near the town of Montitxelvo. The regional government of Valencia said it hoped five water-carrying planes and helicopters would be deployed in the operation.

It ‘started with a small fire’ but as ‘the wind has blown all day leading it spread with great speed’ Valencia government minister Pilar Bernabé told journalists. 

Regional president Carlos Mazón called on people to avoid travel in the area or activities in forests that could start fires.

State news agency EFE said winds in the zone had reached some 120kph overnight. Mazón describe the winds as the main element fueling the fire in the mountainous and wooded terrain.

The fire comes as Spain, like much of Europe, continues to face heavy rains and gales from Storm Ciarán. However, the rain and low temperatures have not helped prevent the wildfire. ALSO READ: Woman dies in Madrid from fallen tree, as Storm Ciarán sweeps across Western Europe.

Spain has been suffering a drought for the past two years, intensified by climate change. Because the land is so parched, it is unable to absorb much of the storm water, which will run off into the rivers before reaching the Mediterranean.

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