Tarragona (Spain), June 27 (IANS) The heatwave that has engulfed Western Europe kindled the year’s first serious wildfire in the mountainous region of Tarragona district of Spain, endangering a nuclear power station and forcing people to evacuate the area.
The region housed a nuclear power station, emergency services said on Thursday. The Ascó nuclear power station near Flix could soon be surrounded by a wall of thick smoke from brush fires near it, Efe news reported citing officials.
Flames have consumed 4,000 hectares (10,000 acres) of forest. According to fire-fighters, the area of land affected by the fire might reach 20,000 if they are not able to douse the flames soon.
Regional spokesman Miquel Buch said it was one of the worst fires in Catalonia in the past 20 years. Around 350 fire-fighters worked throughout the night to stabilise the perimeter of wildfire with the help of around 80 fire vehicles, 10 tractors and heavy machinery.
Seven aircraft, two command helicopters, three water bombing helicopters and two water bombing airplanes also joined the operations, said the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. More aircraft were likely to arrive, it added.
Quim Torra, President of the Catalonia region, visited a fire-fighting command centre, set up in Vinebre to supervise fire-fighting.
As many as 40 people have been evacuated from the area and 22 of them spent the night in a shelter located in Flix.
Meanwhile, another wildfire was brought under control in Humanes, in the central region of Madrid, officials said.