Friday, October 7

The flames force the evacuation of more than 10,000 residents in some 80 towns in six provinces

Several firefighters work to put out the fire in Zamora. / Eph

Nine large fires continue to devour thousands of hectares in Galicia, Castilla y León and Aragón, where they force the A-2 to be cut near Zaragoza, while the AVE to Galicia will circulate again this Wednesday through Zamora

Alfonso Torres

Eleven days after the beginning of the second great heat wave of the summer, the forest fires do not let up, destroying thousands of hectares in different parts of Spain, often overflowing the capacity of the emergency teams to contain the flames and threatening the safety of remote neighborhoods or entire towns. The general director of Civil Protection of the Ministry of the Interior, Leonardo Marcos, described the wave of fire that the country has suffered for more than a month as “the most important emergency since there are records.”

The 21 relevant fires that advanced throughout the peninsula on Tuesday forced the firefighting commanders to order the urgent evacuation of more than 10,000 people from more than 80 neighborhoods, settlements and municipalities in six different and distant provinces.

Most of the evictions occurred in Castilla y León, the community that concentrates a large part of the forests and mountains burned in recent days. Up to 32 urban centers close to the tongue of fire originating in Lisacio, which has already destroyed a good part of Zamora, have been evacuated since the weekend.

The flames forced some 6,000 people to take refuge in the homes of relatives or friends from other municipalities or in sports centers and other facilities. The work of the firefighting teams allowed almost half of these evicted people, the residents of 18 towns in Zamora, to gradually return to their homes throughout the afternoon of Tuesday.

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The second large group of evacuees was the one that urgently left the Avila town of Hoyo de Pinares between Monday and Tuesday, due to the advance of the fire that originated in nearby Cebreros, which has already burned 3,500 hectares and this Tuesday night was totally uncontrolled in its western sector. The number of displaced people, no less than 2,000 people, could be up to double as this town multiplies its residents in summer. Some of them found refuge in public buildings in the nearby towns of Robledo de Chavela and Navas del Marqués.

The third caravan was formed in the Galician provinces of Lugo and Orense, where nearly 15,000 hectares have been burned. Some 500 residents of 20 residential areas in the Valdeorras region had to leave almost with what they were wearing, where some 85 buildings have been burned, including houses, warehouses and warehouses. The same thing happened with some 600 more inhabitants of another 30 councils, neighborhoods and villages near the town of Folgoso de Courel, where the flames have destroyed some 6,000 hectares of forest.

A firefighter reviews the burned area in Cebreros; A house surrounded by the calcined surface in the town of A Veiga da Cascallá; A calcined goat in one of the areas affected by the fire in San Martín de Tabara / Agencies

The other two forced evacuations occurred during the day in the Leonese towns of Rimor, Ozuela and Orbanajo, where 150 residents fled due to the fire unleashed in the mountains of Ponferrada. In turn, in the Zaragoza towns of Moros and Villalengua, where more than 500 hectares have been burned since Ateca, the flames threatened the safety and lives of 700 residents. This last fire forced last night to cut the Autovía del Nordeste (A-2) between Alhama de Aragón and Medinacelli, already in Soria (from kilometer 151 to 211), giving as an alternative to reach the Aragonese capital from Madrid the A15 / N122 .

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The positive part touched the hundreds of residents in the towns of Guadapero and Monsagro in Salamanca. They were able to return to their homes after escaping for hours from a violent forest fire that devastated part of both municipalities.

They catch an arsonist

Up to nine large fires, with risk for inhabited areas, have not been able to be subdued by the extinction teams. The most dangerous, the one started in Losacio, exceeded 25,000 hectares devastated and in its extinction two dozen people had been injured, in addition to the death of two people. Its flames cut off the circulation of the AVE between Zamora and Sanabria for the second day -the route in that section had to be covered with buses-, although Renfe announced at night that this Wednesday morning it would reopen the rail service in the area.

The investigations against the arsonists that aggravate the summer risks sometimes give results. This is the case of the police investigations carried out in Torrelavega (Cantabria), which allowed the arrest of the 22-year-old who allegedly set fire to ten hectares in the La Viesca park on June 1.

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