A forest fire in Spain has claimed 11 lives. All the dead were volunteer firefighters who perished as they fought a desperate battle to overcome a blaze that has raged out of control in the centre of the country. A barbecue that was not put out properly is thought to be the cause of the inferno. After starting in a nature reserve, it has spread along a 17 kilometre front in the Guadalajara area, east of Madrid.
Around 5,000 hectares have been scorched since Saturday, despite emergency workers’ efforts. They have been cutting fire breaks to try to halt the advance of the blaze but strong winds have made their job more difficult. Parched by a heatwave and the worst drought since the 1940s, much of Spain is like a tinder box and fierce fires have hit several regions.
In a separate incident, police arrested a man suspected of having started a fire close to an oil refinery. Hundreds of people have had to be evacuated from their homes in the various fire-hit areas. Caught up in the Guadalajara emergency, some 500 villagers have been provided with temporary shelter.