Forest fire threatens UNESCO heritage site in Spain

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Spain forest fire
Spain forest fire

No fewer than 150 firefighters including 21 air units are combating a forest fire in Southern Spain which has forced the evacuation of about 1,000 people.

According to televised images, trees were seen burnt by the blaze which started Saturday night.

Reports suggest that the fire is threatening a national park famous for its biodiversity and is advancing westward to Donana National Park, one of Spain’s most important nature reserves and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The park, which has been in existence since for 23 years, has over 50,000 hectares (123,550 acres) of wetlands and woods, serving migratory birds from Africa and Europe.

It is also home to a variety of animals, including the highly endangered Iberian lynx and the Iberian imperial eagle.

Jose Gregorio Fiscal Lopez from the regional Andalusian authority in charge of the environment said: “The fire has entered in the limits of the reserve; that is where we are focusing our efforts”.

Susana Diaz, the regional president of Andalusia, said “there’s no risk to the population” after a 1,000 people were evacuated from campsites and houses near the town of Moguer on Spain’s southern coast where the fire started on Saturday night.

At least 750 people were allowed to return to their homes by Sunday afternoon.

Diaz further said that fighting the fire was proving difficult due to the hot, dry weather, with temperatures reaching 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit), and shifting winds.

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

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