Firefighters continue to try to control several fires in Spain on Sunday (19), as the intense and unusual heat wave began to subside. In France, the high temperatures are concentrated in the west of the country, after the previous day’s high temperatures.
This largest of these wildfires has already destroyed more than 25,000 hectares in the Sierra de la Culebra mountain range in the Castile and Leon region near the border with Portugal, according to regional authorities.
The blaze, which started on Wednesday during wet and dry weather, has forced authorities to evacuate 14 villages with several hundred residents.
Firefighters battle blaze amid heatwave in Spain
Residents were allowed to return Sunday morning as the situation improved.
Several roads have been opened and a high-speed rail link between Madrid and the northwestern region of Galicia, which was closed on Saturday due to the fires, reopened, the authorities added.
Elsewhere in the country, smaller wildfires broke out in the region of Catalonia (northwest) and the region of Navarra (north), one of the few regions in Spain where temperatures remained unusually high on Sunday.
Free ways for firefighters
Firefighters try to contain a forest fire in Pomarego de Terra, near Zamora, northern Spain, on Saturday (18) – Photo: César Manso / AFP
The Navarre regional government urged residents to avoid “non-essential travel” to leave roads clear for firefighters.
“We have some very difficult hours ahead of us,” said Navarra Interior Ministry director Amparo Lopez-Antelo.
He added that rescue work was hampered by high temperatures and winds gusting from the south at a speed of more than 30 kilometers per hour.
Temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius were recorded in Spain throughout the week, but fell on Sunday in most parts of the country.
Thermometers are expected to reach only 29 degrees Celsius in Madrid on Sunday and 25 degrees Celsius in Zamora province, where Sierra de Culebra is located.
In France, the National Weather Service raised the red alert, which was triggered by the previous intense heat wave that reached its peak on Saturday, with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius in several regions. But temperatures remain high in the west of the country, reaching 38 degrees in some areas.
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