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Wildfire burns near popular Spanish coast as temperatures reach abnormal highs for April

The fire began yesterday near the town of Tarbena, which is around a half hour’s drive from Benidorm and one hour from Alicante.

A WILDFIRE NEAR coastal areas of Spain popular with Irish tourists has burned more than 1,200 acres of land and forced 180 people to flee their homes.

The fire began yesterday in the Valencia region near the town of Tarbena, which is around a half hour’s drive from Benidorm and one hour from Alicante.

Temperatures in that part of Spain have reached 30 degrees Celcius in recent days, which would not be unusual during the summer but is hotter than normal for this early in the year.

Heat, wind and low humidity fuelled the blaze, which local media reports said may have started with an agricultural fire.

According to the AEMET national weather service, temperatures rose above 30 degrees Celsius in more than 65 areas across Spain on Saturday, including places as far north as the Pyrenees, Galicia and the Castilla y Leon region.

Climate change is pushing average temperatures upwards around the world as humans continue to pump greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere that trap heat near the Earth’s surface.

2023 was the hottest year of modern records.

In 2022, around 500 wildfires destroyed more than 300,000 hectares of land in Spain, a record in Europe, according to the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS). 

The fire is still active after a “complicated” night for firefighters, the region’s emergency services wrote on social media.

Fire Tarbena ENEX ENEX

“Around 180 people have been evacuated” from the two worst-hit areas, said Pilar Bernabe, the central government representative in Valencia.

Eight air units battled the blaze alongside firefighters and troops from the UME military emergency unit, which is called in to help with larger fires. 

© AFP 2024

Additional reporting by Lauren Boland

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