Europe

Forest fires spread in northern Spain

Two neighbours look at the flames as firefighters work to extinguish a forest fire at Ribera de Arriba in Asturias Image copyright EPA
Image caption Dozens of fires are ablaze in the Asturias region alone

Firefighters are battling more than 120 forest fires in northern Spain, some of which may have been started deliberately, officials say.

The regions of Cantabria, Asturias and the Basque Country are worst affected, with high winds spreading the flames.

Spain's forestry association said the unusually high temperatures did not explain the origin of the fires.

Association head Raul de la Calle suggested "cattle farming interests" could be responsible.

He said some people believed the fires would make the pasture more "appetising" to the animals, El Mundo reported.

More than 80 fires are currently burning in Cantabria, where 2,000 hectares (5,000 acres) of land of "very high ecological value" have been destroyed, regional president Miguel Angel Revilla said.

However none of those fires are currently threatening inhabited areas, he added.

About 100 soldiers have been sent to the region.

In Asturias there are 38 fires, of which 31 have been contained.

Spain's interior ministry has warned of continuing high winds in the north.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption More than 80 fires are burning in Cantabria
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Land of high ecological value has been destroyed
Image copyright EPA
Image caption A hundred firefighters and forestry experts are fighting blazes near Berango
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A horse reacts to smoke in Asturias
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Some of the fires were started deliberately, officials say
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Spain's forestry association has blamed "cattle farming interests" for some of the fires
Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Planes have been able to dump water on flames in the Basque region
Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Unseasonably high temperatures and a lack of rainfall have left Spain vulnerable to fires

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