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30 Aircraft Deployed Assist in Spanish Wildfires

Authorities say a wildfire burning out of control in an eastern province of Spain has become one of the country’s largest this year, with 35 aircraft dispatched to assist in its suppression.

The fire in Valencia, which entered its fifth day on Friday, has already burned over 19,000 hectares (47,000 acres) along an 85-mile (137-kilometer) perimeter.

Rain boosted hopes that it could be put out on Thursday, but strong winds had made the fire “very aggressive,” according to the Valencian regional government. In neighboring Portugal, the government declared a three-day state of emergency beginning on Sunday. Portugal is experiencing severe drought, as well as devastating wildfires this summer.

In response to predictions of inland temperatures exceeding 40C (104F) starting Sunday in what could be the nation’s third heatwave this summer, the measure, which gives authorities special, temporary powers such as banning people from woodlands, was put in place.

On those days, the armed forces will conduct additional forest patrols, according to Portuguese Interior Minister Jose Luis Carneiro. He also announced that the Civil Protection Agency would receive additional funding to hire 500 additional firefighters.

This year’s wildfires in Spain have burned four times as much land as the previous decade.

As of early August, 43 large wildfires — those affecting at least 500 hectares (1,235 acres) — had been reported in the Mediterranean country, compared to the previous year’s average of 11.

Spain has burned 284,764 hectares (704,000 acres) this year, which is four times the average since records began in 2006.

AerialFire Staff
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