Wildfire rages across 3 villages in southern Spain

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Wildfire rages across 3 villages in southern Spain

Hundreds of civil and military firefighters are tackling a wildfire in southern Spain that has burned across at least 7,500 hectares, 18,500 acres of land, and forced the evacuation of more than 500 people since it began on Wednesday.

The fire in northern Extremadura is being blocked by strong winds, according to the regional government, which claims the blaze was started deliberately.

The three villages of Cadală, Descargamar a and Robledillo de Gata have been evacuated and three main roads closed.

More than 400 firefighters, including members of the military emergencies unit, were deployed and were using 10 earthmovers, 14 aircraft and 23 road vehicles to bring the fire under control.

Spain's prime minister has abandoned a campaign trip to the region ahead of next week's local and regional elections. Pedro S. Nchez said he was following the situation closely and offered those affected his full support.

Bego a Garc a, the head of the agriculture department in Extremadura, asked people in the area to let police know if they had seen anything suspicious, adding that residents know that this was done on purpose. Local emergency services also asked people to keep out of the affected areas so as not to clog up evacuation routes.

Marcos Hern ndez, who lives in Pinofranqueado, the municipality where the fire began, told Efe news agency that people in the area felt very angry and powerless as the blaze continued.

In 2003, fires in Las Hurdes burned more than 8,000 hectares of land and blazes in the same area burned through more than 5,000 hectares last July.

In Spain last year, more than 315,000 hectares of land were impacted by wildfires, according to the European Forest Fire Information System.

The Spanish government has approved a €2.2 bn 1.9 bn plan last week to help farmers and consumers cope with an enduring drought that has been exacerbated by the hottest and driest April on record.

Teresa Ribera, the environment minister, said that the effects of the climate emergency were becoming increasingly evident. While Spain is a country used to periods of drought, there is no doubt that we re seeing far more frequent and intense events and phenomena as a result of climate change we re experiencing, she said.