Spain firefighters working to control blaze that has destroyed 4,000 hectares
Firefighters said on Saturday they had stopped Spain's first major wildfire of the year from spreading further through the eastern Valencia region, where it destroyed more than 4,000 hectares of forest and forced 1,500 residents to abandon their homes.
An unusually dry winter across parts of southern Europe has raised fears of a repeat of 2022, when 785,000 hectares were destroyed - more than double the annual average for the past 16 years, according to European Commission (EC) statistics.
In Spain, 493 fires destroyed a record 307,000 hectares of land last year, according to the Commission's European Forest Fire Information System.
More than 500 firefighters supported by 20 planes and helicopters were working to bring the blaze under control near the village of Villanueva de Viver, in the Valencia region, emergency services said on Saturday.
However, they had managed to stop the fire spreading to other areas.