AP

Winds drive major wildfire in Spain; Portugal goes on alert

Aug 19, 2022, 5:42 AM | Updated: Aug 20, 2022, 2:12 am

Firefighters battle a wildfire in Gouveia, in the Serra da Estrela mountain range, in Portugal Thur...

Firefighters battle a wildfire in Gouveia, in the Serra da Estrela mountain range, in Portugal Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022. Authorities in Portugal said Thursday they had brought under control a wildfire that for almost two weeks raced through pine forests in the Serra da Estrela national park, but later in the day a new fire started and threatened Gouveia. (AP Photo/Joao Henriques)

(AP Photo/Joao Henriques)

MADRID (AP) — A wildfire burning out of control in Spain’s eastern province of Valencia has become one of the country’s biggest fires this year, and 35 aircraft were deployed to fight it as the blaze entered its fifth day, authorities said Friday.

The wildfire has already scorched more than 19,000 hectares (47,000 acres) along a 137-kilometer (85-mile) perimeter. Efforts to bring it under control Thursday failed and strong winds have made the fire “very aggressive,” the Valencian regional government said.

In neighboring Portugal, the government on Friday announced a nationwide three-day state of alert beginning Sunday. Portugal is in the grip of a severe drought and has also seen devastating wildfires this summer.

The measure, which grants authorities special, temporary powers such as barring people from woodlands, is a response to forecasts of inland temps above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) beginning Sunday in what could be the country’s third heat wave this summer.

Portuguese Interior Minister José Luís Carneiro said the armed forces would provide extra forest patrols on those days. He also announced that the Civil Protection Agency will get additional funding to hire another 500 firefighters.

In Spain’s Valencia, meanwhile, four people were still hospitalized after suffering severe burns Wednesday when several passengers tried to jump off a train that had stopped and tried to go back amid surrounding flames. The train had inadvertently headed into the fast-spreading wildfire.

Regional government head Ximo Puig has requested a report from the firefighting services to clarify why the train was allowed to proceed through an area that was burning.

Spain has been hit harder than any other European country by forest fires this year, according to the European Commission’s Copernicus Earth observation program. This year, wildfires in Spain have burned four times more land than they did during the last decade.

Up to early August, 43 large wildfires — those affecting at least 500 hectares (1,235 acres) — were recorded in the Mediterranean country, while the average in previous years was 11.

The European Forest Fire Information System estimates Spain has seen 284,764 hectares (704,000 acres) burn this year — four times higher than the average since records began in 2006.

___

Follow all AP stories on the environment and climate change at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Members of the Henderson Fire Department load Deb Billet, 66, into an ambulance before trans...

Associated Press

Things to know about heat deaths as a dangerously hot summer shapes up in the western US

A dangerously hot summer is shaping up in the U.S. West, with heat suspected in dozens of recent deaths.

3 days ago

FILE - Dr. Ruth Westheimer participates in the "Ask Dr. Ruth" panel during the Hulu presentation at...

Associated Press

Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the sex therapist who became a pop icon, has died

Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the sex therapist who became a pop icon, media star and best-selling author, has died.

3 days ago

Biden proposes rule to protect 36 million workers from extreme heat...

Associated Press

Biden proposes new rule to protect 36 million workers from extreme heat

President Joe Biden on Tuesday proposed a new rule to address excessive heat in the workplace, warning — as tens of millions of people in the U.S. are under heat advisories — that high temperatures are the country's leading weather-related killer.

14 days ago

FILE - Rori Chang, of Glendale, Ariz., walks with her dog Ava as they leave the Maricopa Country An...

Associated Press

Here are ways that can help ease dogs’ July Fourth dread

Those with furry, four-legged family members will be searching for solutions to the Fourth of July anxiety that fireworks bring.

15 days ago

Fossilized crocodilian excrement is displayed at the "Poozeum", Friday, June 7, 2024, in Williams, ...

Associated Press

Museum in northern Arizona tells stories of ancient animals through their fossilized poop

The Poozeum opened in May in Williams, a northern Arizona town known for its Wild West shows along Route 66.

15 days ago

walgreens-closures...

Associated Press

Walgreens to take a hard look at underperforming stores, could shutter hundreds more

Walgreens is finalizing a plan to fix its business that could result in the closure of hundreds of additional stores in the next three years.

18 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Winds drive major wildfire in Spain; Portugal goes on alert