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Arson suspected in wave of wildfires in northern Spain

Spanish authorities are battling more than 120 wildfires, with many thought to have been deliberately set.

April 1, 2023
1 April 2023

Spanish authorities suspect that scores of fires sweeping through forested areas in the north of the country were set deliberately.

Firefighters in the coastal autonomous region of Asturias were on Friday trying to extinguish more than 120 forest and bush blazes, including 30 new conflagrations since the previous day.

“This is an unprecedented mass of deliberately started fires,” local government official Alejandro Calvo told the RTVE television station.

The region’s head of government, Adrián Barbón, called on the population to immediately report any suspicious activity.

Dramatic television images showed fire crews battling to stop the flames in front of a petrol station while others were barely able to get themselves to safety from an advancing inferno.

On the outskirts of the regional capital Oviedo, the forest on Mount Naranco was also ablaze. 

The A8 highway, the main road connection in Asturias, had to be closed because flames had made their way up to the crash barriers.

So far, a total of 375 people had to leave their homes and were accommodated in emergency shelters. 

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez was informed about the situation during his visit to China.

Meanwhile, in neighbouring Galicia, several fires were brought under control after destroying about 1500 hectares of forest. 

The first major forest fire of the year on the border of the eastern regions of Valencia and Aragon was also largely extinguished. 

About 4700 hectares of woodland were destroyed, forcing 1750 people from their homes.

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