Fire sweeps through famous Spanish nature reserve

June 25, 2017 10:30 pm

A picture taken on July 25, 2017 shows smoke billowing near Solvasa Mazagon Hotel in the area of Donana National Park, near Huelva. (AFP photo)

Fire has erupted in a world-known Spanish nature reserve, prompting authorities to evacuate more than 1,500 people from camps and facilities in the park.
The fire began Saturday night at Donana National Park, a UNESCO-protected reserve located at Moguer in the southern region of Andalusia.
Jose Fiscal, deputy head of the regional environment protection authority, said the fire prompted evacuation of many people staying at a camp site.
“The fire has entered in the limits of the reserve, and that is where we are focusing our efforts,” said Fiscal
The fire had yet to be taken under control by late morning, authorities said, as they failed to elaborate on the scale of the blaze and what could have caused it. Regional president Susana Diaz suggested that “the human factor cannot be excluded.” The official, who rushed to the area affected by the fire, said hot, dry weather, with high temperatures and shifting winds made firefighting more difficult. He said, however, that there was no risk to the population and that around half of those evacuated has been allowed to return home by midday Sunday.
More than 150 firefighters, 10 helicopters, seven planes and four water bombing planes were sent to the area.

Cars stop by on the road to Mazagón as smoke billows in a pine forest, on June 25, 2017. (AFP photo)

Donana, a major tourist attraction and an important biosphere reserve famed for its biodiversity, is where some endangered species like Iberian lynx and the Spanish imperial eagle, live. It is also home to a wide variety of ecosystems and forms of wildlife.
The fire comes just a week after 60 people died in massive fire that engulfed a forest in neighboring Portugal.
A spate of forest hit two years ago, with officials blaming some of them on deliberate human action.
The Andalusian province of Huelva, where the Donana Park is located, had been classified along several other areas at maximum risk of fire as Spain is grappling with drought at this time of year. 
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