Spain wildfires: Four killed in Catalonia
- 23 July 2012
- From the section Europe
The death toll has risen to four in forest fires raging in Spain's north-eastern Catalonia region.
A swathe of land is affected on either side of the main road from Figueres to La Jonquera, south of the Pyrenees.
A Frenchman aged 64, who suffered severe burns, died on Monday.
Earlier two French nationals drowned in the sea near the border with France while trying to escape the flames. A 75-year-old man, also French, died from a heart attack in Llers, near Figueres.
Smoke from the fires has reached parts of Barcelona, Spanish media report.
About 20 people have been injured fleeing the blazes, while hundreds of firefighters have been deployed, struggling as 90km/h (56mph) gusts of wind fan the flames.
A forest fire is also raging in the parched Caceres region of southwestern Spain, again fuelled by strong gusts of wind. Spanish media say seven helicopters and two planes are trying to douse the flames with water, on a front two to three kilometres (1.5 miles) wide.
About 50 people have been evacuated from the village of Cambron in the affected area, which is mostly wild pine forest.
In Catalonia about 1,300 people left their homes in Alt Emporda district and spent the night in sports halls and social clubs.
However, the AP-7 highway from Figueres to La Jonquera has reopened to traffic and the main railway line north to France is also open.
There are fears that a change in wind direction will drive the flames westwards, into the wooded Alta Garrotxa area, parts of which are difficult to reach. The western flank of the blaze is proving harder to contain.
The authorities have urged people in 17 districts to stay indoors.
An area totalling some 9,000 hectares (22,240 acres) has been consumed by fire.
On Sunday a 60-year-old Frenchman and his 15-year-old daughter died after falling down cliffs as they were fleeing the flames on the main coastal road near Portbou, Spanish media reported.
Several other people caught by the fire did the same and were badly injured. The fire near Portbou has now been contained.