The multiple forest fires, of criminal origin, which have ravaged northern Spain for the past few days, were stabilized on Saturday April 1, thanks to more favorable weather conditions, the authorities announced.
In Asturias, firefighters have been helped in recent hours by a less strong wind and the arrival of light rain. In this autonomous community, located on the northern Atlantic coast of the country, 71 fires were still in progress, Saturday noon, against more than 90 the day before. But almost all are "under control," said Oscar Rodriguez, the area's emergency services manager.
In the neighboring region of Cantabria, 35 fires were recorded on Friday. They are now "all extinguished", the regional government said on Twitter, with the exception of two forest fires still in progress but, again, "under control".
An important device has been deployed by the firefighters and nearly 400 people have been evacuated in recent days. In Asturias, some 11,000 hectares went up in smoke, according to Oscar Rodriguez. These fires were deliberately started, according to the authorities. There was "clearly a coordinated action by environmental terrorists" which could have resulted in "hundreds of deaths", denounced Adrian Barbon, the regional president of Asturias.
The Valencia region, to the east, is also affected by these forest fires. In Castellon, a fire burned nearly 4,700 hectares of vegetation this week.
As a result of climate change, the fire season, previously limited to summer, now runs from spring to autumn, say the authorities. Spain was the European country most affected in 2022 by this phenomenon, with nearly 500 fires having ravaged more than 300,000 hectares, according to the European Forest Fire Information System. A scenario that could happen again this year, with Spain facing a long drought, after three years of below-average rainfall.