Strong winds are continuing to fan forest fires on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma.
About 500 firemen have spent the weekend battling to contain the blazes which began on Friday, but they have now been forced to retreat as flames raged close to two towns in the south. The main tactic left is to try and douse the fires with water from the air. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who began his holiday on the island of Lanzarote, flew to La Palma to see the devastation for himself. “The Spanish government will obviously sanction the distribution of aid. It will be approved at the next Cabinet meeting on August 13,” he said. Much of southern Europe has been hit by wildfires over the last two weeks – Greece and Spain seem to have been the hardest hit. In Spain alone, more than 75,000 hectares have been destroyed, that is double that for the whole of 2008.