PROVINCIA DE CASTELLON – After the flames have already destroyed 2,000 hectares, the fire on the border of the provinces of Castellón and Teruel is still active. Twenty air units and thirty army forces are trying to extinguish the fire on Friday.
The fire started in Villanueva de Viver (Castellón). The evolution of the flames is favourable on the left flank due to wind shifting, but the fire on the Valencian side is difficult to stabilise, Emergencias 112 de Aragón has reported. Moreover, here the area is more difficult to reach for the extinguishing units.
Around 900 people have been evacuated from the urban centres of ten towns in Castellón and Teruel. This is as a precaution due to the presence of smoke and the proximity of the flames. Furthermore, in some areas, the wildfire has caused power outages.
The preliminary affected area is located in two autonomous regions and covers about 2,000 hectares. Of these, about 800 are located in Aragon.
Evacuation of a thousand inhabitants
Residents of the village centre of Villanueva de Viver are not yet allowed to return to their homes. Sources of the Guardia Civil report that this concerns the following areas;
- Fuente de Reina
- Puebla de Arenoso
- Barrio Los Calpes (Puebla de Arenoso)
- Los Cantos and La Monzona
In Aragon, the village of Olba has been evacuated and several farms and hamlets in the area in San Agustín. The 250 evacuated people in total have been accommodated in catering establishments and the homes of family and friends.
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In the town of Montán, a residence for the elderly and people with reduced mobility was evacuated with the help of, among other things, transfer buses and ambulances.
The Ministry of Health has set up a field hospital run by the Red Cross in the municipal sports centre of Segorbe. This can take up too 600 people here.
The fire originated in a ravine with a large forest mass and was surrounded by forests of high environmental value. The mayor of Montanejos, Miguel Sandalinas, called the fire “very worrying” on RNE. The municipality is located in the Sierra de Espadan Natural Park area of influence. This area is attractive for nature tourism because of the many mountain routes, the beautiful landscapes and the thermal baths.
Three roads are closed to traffic in the Valencian Community:
- CV 207 at kilometre 13 (Fuente la Reina) towards Villanueva de Viver
- CV 208 at kilometre 0 in both directions
- CV 20 at kilometre 52 near Montanejos, direction Teruel
In Aragon, the A-232 road, which gives access to Olba, will also remain closed.
“Very voracious” evolution
President Ximo Puig of the Valencia region said on Thursday evening at the fire coordination centre that the fire was “very voracious” in the beginning and has thus quickly reached a large circumference of 800 to 1,000 hectares located between the provinces of Castellón and Teruel. Moreover, the firefighting units were confronted with high temperatures and strong winds, which made their work difficult. The weather institute Aemet foresees unfavourable conditions for extinguishing the fire due to the westerly wind and the expected high temperatures in the coming days.
These adverse conditions also contributed to the fire’s rapid development so early in the year. On Thursday at 3.00 pm there was a strong south-to-southwest wind, the humidity was below 30% and the temperature was around 25ºC.
Twenty fires lit in Cantabria
However, Castellón is not the only area that has been hit by fire in recent hours. In Cantabria, some twenty fires have been recorded overnight. Of these, twelve are still active. The fires are spread over eight municipalities in the region. The number of fires caused so far in March has already reached 180 in this autonomous community.