Spain forest fire: More than 1,500 evacuated

Around 1,500 people have been evacuated from homes, campsites and hotels after a forest fire erupted in southern Spain.

A joint military-civilian operation involving more than 150 firefighters, 11 water-dropping planes and 10 helicopters has been launched to tackle the blaze as it threatened to destroy a nature reserve.

Donana National Park, which has more than 123,550 acres of wetlands and woods, is one of the country’s most important nature reserves and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

It is an important stop for migratory birds from Africa and Europe and is home to a variety of animals, including the highly endangered Iberian lynx and the Iberian imperial eagle.

“The fire has entered in the limits of the reserve, and that is where we are focusing our efforts,” Jose Gregorio Fiscal Lopez, from the regional Andalusian authority, told Spanish national television.

The forest fire was first spotted on Saturday night near the town of Moguer on Spain’s southern coast.

Susana Diaz, the regional president of Andalusia, said “there’s no risk to the population” after around 750 people spent the night in local rescue centres.

Some have been allowed to return to their properties.

However, fighting the fire was proving difficult she said due to the hot, dry weather, with temperatures reaching 39C, coupled with shifting winds.

She added the cause of the fire was being investigated: “It’s still very early, but we are not ruling out the human factor.”

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