MADRID - Spanish firefighters on Saturday battled forest blazes that have destroyed hundreds of hectares of parched land and forced scores of people from their homes, authorities said.
Nearly 500 emergency workers were fighting two blazes in the central province of Guadalajara where 180 residents were evacuated on Friday, according to the regional Castile la Mancha agriculture ministry. Firefighters backed by water-dumping aircraft were deployed over an area of 1,500 hectares (3,700 acres) near the village of Cogolludo and over 1,000 hectares near the hamlet of Bustares, it said in a statement.
Officials said on Friday that those two fires had destroyed at least 1,000 hectares between them, including part of the Sierra Norte national park. The ministry did not say exactly how much land had been burnt by Saturday.
Authorities said the Bustares blaze was accidentally started by a beekeeper and the flames in Cogolludo were sparked by a combine harvester.
Elsewhere on Saturday firefighters in Ujue, near the northern city of Pamplona, brought under control a wildfire that had destroyed 900 hectares of land, the Navarra regional police force said. Spain is highly prone to forest fires in summer because of soaring temperatures, strong winds and dry vegetation.
Temperatures have soared close to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) across Spain in recent days. The heat eased on Saturday but authorities warned that high winds could continue to fan the flames. Up to July 13 this year 29,000 hectares were destroyed by wildfires, according to the agriculture ministry. Last year wildfires destroyed nearly 60,000 hectares. That followed a relatively wet winter and was far lower than the 226,000 hectares of land destroyed in 2012.