Firefighters continue to battle Spanish wildfire as heatwave intensifies

The blaze has already razed 6,500 hectares in Catalonia and is heading towards Lleida

Flames near a house in Torre de l'Espanyol.
Flames near a house in Torre de l'Espanyol.Jaume Sellart / EFE

A wildfire that broke out on Wednesday in the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia is still out of control after ravaging 6,500 hectares of land.

As Spain continues to experience a heatwave that could push temperatures above 40ºC, firefighting officials said they did not expect to have the blaze fully stabilized by Friday.

The head of the Catalan interior department, Miquel Buch, said that the left flank has been contained after the C-12 road acted like a firewall. The right flank remains active, and firefighting personnel spent the night trying to stabilize the perimeter.

The fire began at a farm in Torre del Espanyol, in Tarragona province, where it is believed to have originated in the spontaneous combustion of a manure pile.

The flames quickly spread through the municipality and the surrounding areas of Vinebre, la Palma d'Ebre, Flix and Maials, and are currently heading in the direction of Lleida. Authorities have warned that the fire has the potential to consume 20,000 hectares of land.

Inspector Antonio Ramos, who is in charge of the firefighting operation, said that the goal for Friday is to reduce the intensity of the flames on the north side. But the weather forecast is not helping.

“Today is going to be the worst day of the heatwave, and we ask all citizens of Catalonia to be extremely careful. We cannot afford a new fire, and the rising temperatures could make the current one worse,” he said.

Over 400 firefighters and military personnel are working to put out the flames. Five roads have been cut off to traffic, including the C-12 between Maials and Flix.

English version by Susana Urra.

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