A major forest fire in Spain’s eastern Castellon province has prompted the evacuation of over 1,500 people. The fire, which has engulfed around 3,000 hectares of land since Thursday, and was described as “very voracious from the beginning” by Ximo Puig, the president of the Valencia region. The fire comes as Spain officially entered a period of long-term drought at the end of 2022, owing to high temperatures and low rainfall over the past three years. Nineteen water-dropping planes and helicopters, and over 500 firefighters and soldiers were deployed to tackle the blaze, and the risk of more fires in Castellon is classified as “extreme.” Last year, wildfires burned through 306,555 hectares of land in Spain, making it Spain’s hottest year on record, according to European Union data. Despite extensive planning, early warning surveillance, and prediction models, preparing for wildfires remains a huge challenge.
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