Firefighter killed as Spain battles deadly wildfires

One person was killed and three injured as firefighters battled wildfires across Spain, authorities said, the latest victims in a sweltering summer of forest blazes.

The victim died fighting a blaze yesterday in woods near the south-eastern city of Alicante, while there and on the Canary Islands aircraft dumped water on the hillsides to douse flames that have driven thousands from their homes.

As the fires on the Canaries raged along with smaller blazes around the country, the latest major blaze broke out north of Alicante in the Torre de les Macanes pine woods where the firefighter died, the regional government said.

The fire "is still active in an area of adult pines," a spokeswoman for the emergency services told AFP yesterday evening.

Regional government official Serafin Castellano said authorities evacuated 130 children from a camp in the area as a precaution.

On the Atlantic islands of La Gomera and Tenerife, part of the Canaries archipelago, fires that have ravaged thousands of hectares of land burned on out of control yesterday, authorities said.

On la Gomera, "work is under way to prevent the fire advancing towards the populated areas of Vallehermoso" in the north and further into Garajonay National Park, a Unesco
World Heritage Site, the regional government said in a statement.

Elderly villagers on La Gomera had spent the night in hotels and student halls after more than 4,700 people were evacuated since Friday.

Apolonia Garcia Castaneda, an 83-year-old mother of 10 who was evacuated overnight on La Gomera, said she had to leave behind her chickens, sheep and crops as well as her dog.

"I haven't been able to sleep. I rested a bit, but the fear doesn't go easily," she said.
The flames have charred more than 600 hectares (1,500 acres) on La Gomera and some 370 hectares on Tenerife since they revived on Friday after devastating 3,000 hectares earlier in the week, the regional government said.

Since the fire first started a week ago, a total of nearly 800 hectares have been burned inside the Garajonay reserve, home to rare subtropical forests, it said.

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