Firefighters battled to bring raging wildfires under control in several parts of Spain on Saturday (June 18) amid dry and windy conditions, as a heatwave pushed temperatures close to record highs.
Spain was heading towards its hottest early summer temperatures in decades on Saturday, with forecasts of between 40-42 degrees Celsius (104-108 Fahrenheit) in Zaragoza, in the north-east and areas of Navarre and La Rioja in northern Spain according to national weather agency AEMET.
Zamora, near the border with Portugal, and Catalonia, in eastern Spain were among the worst hit by wildfires.
Regional authorities in Castile and Leon, where Zamora is located said almost 20,000 hectares of land had been burned in the Sierra de la Culebra mountain range and the fire was “still active”.
Firefighters in Catalonia, who were trying to bring a fire under control in Baldomar, said they expected Saturday to be “complicated” by “very high temperatures and a strong southerly wind”.
Flames crackled and raged high into the air on the outskirts of the village of Caudiel, in Castellon, eastern Spain.
Firefighters, wearing masks, goggles and helmets, struggled to bring the fires under control. They helped evacuate residents, some of whom dragged along their pet dogs and horses, as smoke wafted through the village.
In Toledo, south west of Madrid, the Puy du Fou theme park was evacuated on Friday as the fires got close to its perimeter.
Many areas of Western Europe have been sweltering under unseasonably hot temperatures over the past few days, compounding climate change fears.