Spain to declare fire-hit regions disaster zones

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MADRID — Spain’s government said Monday it would classify regions struck by big wildfires this year as disaster zones, a move that will trigger emergency subsidies and other financial support measures.اضافة اعلان

So far Spain has suffered nearly 400 wildfires, following punishing heat waves and long dry spells, which have devastated more than 287,000 hectares of land, according to the European Forest Fire Information Sys-tem (EFFIS).

That is more than three times the total area destroyed in 2021, according to the EFFIS database.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said his cabinet would on Tuesday ap-prove classifying as a disaster zone “all territories that have been devas-tated by the great fires that we have endured throughout this year”.

He was speaking during a visit to Bejis in the eastern Valencia region, where a wind-fanned blaze ravaged vast swathes of land over the past week, with around 2,200 people evacuated.

Firefighters managed to stabilize the blaze on Sunday, allowing local of-ficials to lift all remaining evacuation orders.

Standing in front of charred trees, Sanchez said he regretted the “psy-chological blow” suffered by those who had lost their belongings to the flames, as well as the environmental damage.

Parts of Spain are the driest they have been in a thousand years due to an atmospheric high-pressure system driven by climate change, according to a study published last month in the journal, Nature Geoscience.