The authorities reported that the teams from Spain and Portugal that are fighting the fire in the Spanish region of Extremadura (west), which has consumed approximately 12,000 hectares, expect to make significant progress this Saturday due to improved working conditions.
The president of the Extremadura region, Guillermo Fernández Vara, shared on social media that the situation of the forest fire in Pinofranqueado is better than in previous days and that the weather conditions could be favorable in the coming hours.
According to data from the European satellite system Copernicus, it is estimated that the burned area in this area of the province of Cáceres is approaching 12,000 hectares, a figure higher than the previous estimate of 8,500 hectares provided by local authorities.
Nieves Villar, the coordinator of civil protection, expressed her hope during a press conference to be able to control the fire due to the decrease in winds in the area and the improved working conditions. However, she emphasized that it is still far from stating that the fire is under control.
Firefighters from Portugal have joined the extinguishing efforts, as explained by the Civil Protection Coordinator, and more than 600 people are involved in the operations, including teams from different Spanish regions and the neighboring country.
Additionally, approximately 700 residents have been evacuated from their homes, and it is currently considered unsafe for them to return. Villar mentioned that their return is not being considered at the moment.
David Barona, the commander of the Military Emergency Unit (UME), informed the public television station TVE that the fire is currently confined to an area and that efforts are being made to prevent its spread.
Although summer, which is a favorable season for forest fires, has not yet arrived, Spain has already experienced several of them. In 2022, the country was the most affected in Europe, with nearly 500 fires that devoured over 300,000 hectares, according to the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS).
As a European country on the front lines of climate change, Spain has experienced an increase in heatwaves and a decrease in rainfall in recent years. The first four months of this year have been the driest on record since 1961, according to the State Meteorological Agency. In late April, extremely high temperatures were recorded, setting an absolute record for the month of April on the Spanish peninsula with 38.8°C, levels more typical of summer months like July or August.
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