1,500 hectares of fire in western Spain, 550 people evacuated

MADRID (Reuters) – A wildfire in western Spain’s Extremadura region has ravaged more than 1,500 hectares and forced 550 people from their homes, while wind complicated rescue efforts, emergency services said on Friday. Said to

“The gusts of wind are very strong and cause the fire to move and spread, making extinguishing efforts difficult,” David Barona, commander of the military emergency unit, told state broadcaster 24h.

“The smoke plume is spreading at low altitude, making it difficult for air assets to access the area.”

About 250 firefighters are battling the blaze in Pinofrancado, an area in the province of Cáceres near the border with Portugal.

Authorities, who ordered the evacuation of 550 people in the villages of Cadallo, Descargarmaria and Robledillo de Gata, believe the fire is of natural origin.

The extraordinary drought during the winter further increases the risk of fires in some areas of southern Europe.

Last year, a record 493 fires destroyed a record 307,000 hectares in Spain, according to the European Forest Fire Information System.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro; French edition Kate Enstringer)

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