Firefighters continue to try to control several fires in Spain this Sunday (19), as the extreme and unusual heat wave begins to subside. In France, high temperatures are concentrated in the west of the country, after a peak of high temperatures the day before.
The biggest of these wildfires has already destroyed more than 25,000 hectares in the Sierra de la Culebra, a mountain range in the Castile and Leon region near the border with Portugal, according to regional authorities.
The fire, which started on Wednesday during wet and dry weather, forced authorities to evacuate 14 villages, with several hundred inhabitants.
Firefighters battle blaze amid heat wave in Spain
Residents were allowed to return on Sunday morning as the situation improved.
Several roads were unblocked and a high-speed rail link between Madrid and the northwest region of Galicia, which was closed on Saturday due to fires, was also reopened, the authorities added.
Elsewhere in the country, smaller forest fires also broke out in the Catalonia region (northwest) and the Navarra region (north), one of the few regions in Spain where temperatures remained unusually high on Sunday.
Free roads for firefighters
Firefighters try to contain a forest fire in Pumarejo de Tera, near Zamora, northern Spain on Saturday (18) – Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP
The regional government of Navarra urged the population to avoid “unnecessary travel” to leave the roads free for firefighters.
“We have some very difficult hours ahead,” said Navarra’s Interior Ministry director Amparo Lopez Antelo.
The rescue services’ work was hampered by high temperatures and gusts of wind blowing in from the south, at speeds of more than 30 kilometers per hour, he added.
Temperatures above 40°C were recorded in Spain throughout the week, but fell on Sunday in most parts of the country.
Thermometers are expected to reach just 29°C in Madrid on Sunday and 25°C in the province of Zamora, where the Sierra de Culebra is located.
In France, the national meteorological service lifted the red alert launched due to the intense and precode heat wave that reached its peak on Saturday, with temperatures exceeding 40°C in several regions. But temperatures remain high in the west of the country, reaching 38° in some areas.