Police in Spain have recovered the bodies of 11 volunteer firefighters who died as they tried to put out a raging forest fire east of the capital Madrid. The corpses of the men and women who were in their 20s were found near the charred remains of their vehicles in the Guadalajara province. The group died on Sunday when a sudden change in wind direction left their patrol encircled by flames.
Officials say the fire has destroyed some 12,000 hectares of land and has not been fully brought under control. It is thought the flames from an illegal barbecue spread after they were fanned by winds in very dry conditions.
Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister rushed to the region. Afterwards Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said the government was envisaging asking the public prosecutor for stricter punishments for such crimes. Spain worst drought in more than sixty years has been compounded by a blistering heatwave and strong winds at the weekend left much of the country like a tinder box.