OVIEDO. KAZINFORM -Environmental «terrorists» are behind more than a hundred wildfires that are burning in northern Spain on Friday, according to local authorities, Kazinform cites Anadolu Agency.
In Asturias, the worst affected region, firefighters are struggling to fight off around 116 separate active wildfires that have forced around 300 people from their homes.
«Asturias isn’t burning. They’re setting it on fire,» President of Asturias Adrian Barbon said on Twitter. «We are facing authentic terrorists who are putting lives, towns and cities in danger.»
The fires are consuming the verdant region from the mountains to the coast. Five highways have been cut off.
The mountain surrounding Oviedo, the capital of Asturias, is also on fire, with flames coming within hundreds of meters of a 9th-century church, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
«We don’t know why, but this is clearly an unprecedented wave of intentional fires,» Alejandro Calvo, a regional government official, told Spanish broadcaster TVE.
«A situation like this, with all these different fires at once at the worst possible time, makes it seem like they are trying to cause as much damage as possible,» he continued.
This week has seen abnormally hot temperatures in Spain. In the north, strong southern winds have made fighting the fires extremely difficult.
On Thursday, Barbon said he would fight to increase penalties for criminals who set these kinds of fires. Currently, those found guilty can go to prison for one to five years.
In neighboring Cantabria, 38 active wildfires are also burning, which local media say also appear to be mostly intentional.
In Galicia, a major fire burned 1,600 hectares this week. Authorities believe it was accidentally caused by someone burning farm waste.
The flames have come under control in Valencia, where Spain’s first major wildfire of the season began last week. There, authorities say a total of 4,700 hectares of forest and some buildings, were burned.