Spain deploys military against wildfire, evacuates 2,500
Wildfires are common in southern Europe during the summer months, but this year has seen an exceptional number.
Soldiers have been deployed in southeastern Spain to join the battle against a major wildfire burning for nearly a week.
The blaze in Malaga province has destroyed nearly 7,000 hectares (17,300 acres) of forest and prompted the evacuation of up to 2,500 residents.
An emergency brigade travelled from the military base of Morón, in southern Spain, to join more than 300 firefighters and 41 water-dropping aircraft battling the flames in the Andalusia region.
Firefighter Rafael Fanega said the blaze was still “out of control” and called for more boots on the ground to battle the flames.
A combination of hot and dry temperatures with strong winds created a perfect storm, turning the blaze that started late Wednesday into a “hungry monster”, Alejandro García, deputy operational chief of Plan Infoca, said.
“The potency and strength of this wildfire is unusual for the kind of blazes that we are used to seeing in this country,” García told reporters Sunday.
Authorities said they have evidence of arson and are investigating.
Wildfires are common in southern Europe during the hot, dry summer months but there has been an exceptionally large number around the Mediterranean Sea this year, worsened by the intense August heatwaves.
Climate scientists say there is little doubt that climate change from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas is driving more extreme events, such as heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, floods and storms.