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Residents flee wildfires west of Madrid

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Residents flee wildfires west of Madrid

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Wildfires west of Madrid, thought to have been started deliberately, have forced 2,000 people to flee their homes.

Hundreds of firefighters and forest workers have been battling to control the flames, just 60 kilometres from the Spanish capital.

As the danger approached built-up areas, residents spent the night in emergency shelters as a precaution. Officials believe a motorist intentionally started the blaze by throwing ‘incendiary objects’ from his car.

As people worked through the night to clear land in a bid to stop the flames spreading, some said a lack of firebreaks had made matters much worse.

“What we are doing now, 50 metres from a house, could have been done in winter,” said one man.

Amid drier and hotter weather than last year, Spain has been facing its worst wildfires in a decade. It coincides with the slashing of firefighting budgets in the austerity-hit country.