MADRID — Forest fires raged in two areas of Spain on Sunday, evacuating at least hundreds of people, with very dry weather heightening the possibility of further wildfires amid the warmest weekend of the year so far.
Two planes, a helicopter, and almost 200 firefighters have been deployed to the province of vila in central Spain to fight two different fires, according to a tweet from Spain’s Military Emergencies Unit. According to Spain’s State Meteorological Agency, relative humidity in vila dipped as low as 8%, creating tinderbox conditions.
Firefighters in the area shared photos of planes pouring water on burning agricultural structures, while the Spanish Red Cross tweeted photos of first responders rescuing elderly citizens.
Citizens from numerous communities were evacuated by the regional administration of Castile and León. More than 500 people were evacuated to a sports center to escape the flames, which destroyed 5,000 hectares (12,400 acres) of woodland, according to the private Europe Press agency.
“Our mountains have been burned,” Jess Martin, the mayor of Solosancho, one of the communities impacted, told Europa Press. It’s a dreadful feeling. “It’s completely black.”
Meanwhile, an electrical storm in Spain’s eastern Valencia area sparked a fire that prompted the evacuation of Azuébar, a 300-person settlement, according to the local administration in Castellón. To put out the fire, the military emergency force dispatched two helicopters and an aircraft.
“Solidarity to the evacuated inhabitants, I can comprehend their agony and worry,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted, thanking the emergency services for battling the fires.
As most of Southern Europe sweltered beneath a scorching summer sun, Spain set a new preliminary heat record of 47.2 degrees Celsius (116.96 Fahrenheit) at Montoro, Cordoba, on Saturday. If confirmed, the temperature would break the country’s previous record of 46.9 degrees Celsius (116.42 degrees Fahrenheit), recorded in the same location in July 2017.
As the Earth heats, climate scientists believe there’s no doubt that the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas is causing more severe occurrences like heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods, and storms.