Spanish wildfires see 1,000 evacuated

Two wildfires in the south of Spain have forced the evacuation of around 1,000 residents, making this the worst summer in a decade for countryside being devoured by flames, authorities said.

Regional officials said a fire started near Bedar, 50 miles (85km) north of Almeria, where residents spent the night in a sports centre.

Bedar mayor Maria Gonzalez said today that residents had joined firefighters in combating the flames.

Another fire was being brought under control near the beach resort of Estepona, about 20 miles (35km) west of Marbella.

This year, Spain has lost 577 square miles (149,300 hectares) of forest and countryside in more than 11,650 wildfires, compared to around 415 square miles (107,000 hectares) for the whole of 2002.

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