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Spanish Forest Fires: Thousands Flee Homes
Firefighters have been battling a Spanish forest fire - triggered by strong winds - that forced the evacuation of some 2,000 people.
The blaze broke out Sunday afternoon and spread quickly by Monday, threatening villages about 30 miles (50km) inland of Valencia, located on the Mediterranean coast.
Some 500 firefighters on the ground, backed by 27 aircraft, attempted to control the blaze. Thousands were told to leave their villages and several roads were cut off.
"We are trying to protect areas of housing," said senior Valencia region government policymaker Serafin Castellano.
"Right now our biggest enemy is the weather, a lot of wind," he told Cope radio.
Dramatic images in the Spanish media showed flames lighting up the night sky and illuminating clouds of smoke that billowed along hillsides just behind houses.
Enrique Silvestre, mayor of one of the evacuated villages, Chulilla, said the situation was "very difficult".
"The wind is not helping at all and the night was terrible," the mayor told Cadena SER radio.
Spain has been at particularly high risk of fires this summer after suffering its driest winter in 70 years.
Flames destroyed more than 184,000 hectares (454,000 acres) of land between January 1 and September 16, the largest amount in a decade, according to agriculture ministry figures.