Spain Fights Massive Wildfire in Catalonia amid Europe’s Scorching Heatwave

Spain Fights Massive Wildfire in Catalonia amid Europe’s Scorching Heatwave

The large-scale blaze began from an improperly store pile of chicken manure.

Spain’s authorities are struggling to contain a huge wildfire that broke out in the region of Catalonia on Wednesday, and has been raging for two days in the scorching heatwave presently experienced by much of Europe.

Some 6,500 hectares (16,000 acres) of land in Catalonia have been razed by the wildfire, and by the time it is put out, it might engulf a total of 20,000 hectares (50,000a acres), El Pais reported.

The fire is known to have begun at a farm in Torre del Espanyol, in Tarragona province, starting from the spontaneous combustion of a manure pile.

The flames quickly spread through the municipality and the surrounding areas of Vinebre, la Palma d’Ebre, Flix and Maials, before heading in the direction of Lleida.

Firefighting officials have said it was unlikely that their service would manage to stabilize the wildfire by Friday.

Miquel Buch, head of the Catalonia’s interior department announced that the left flank of the fire had been contained after the C-12 road acted like a firewall.

The right flank remains active, and firefighting personnel spent the night trying to stabilize its  perimeter.

“We’re at a moment when the blaze is getting bigger,” Buch, told local media.

The unfavorable forecast for Friday shows that weather would not be of help. According to inspector Antonio Ramos, who is in charge of the firefighting operation, the goal for Friday is to reduce the intensity of the flames on the north side.

“Today is going to be the worst day of the heat wave, and we ask all citizens of Catalonia to be extremely careful. We cannot afford a new fire, and the rising temperatures could make the current one worse,” he said.

Over 400 firefighters and military personnel are working to put out the flames. Five roads have been cut off to traffic, including the C-12 between Maials and Flix.

In addition to the temperatures nearing 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), the steep terrain and the winds are also making the largest wildfire in Catalonia in the past 20 years difficult to control.

(Banner image: TV grab from ACN)

Ivan Dikov is a Bulgarian journalist and author. He studied political science / international relations and history at Dartmouth College and later in Sofia, in the Eastern Balkans. He’s served for five years as the editor-in-chief of Bulgaria’s largest English-language media – As a freelancer, he has collaborated with media from the US, the UK, Germany, and Australia.

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