?Climate change is increasing the vulnerability of forests to wildfires ?

A wildfire in the province of Huelva in southwest Spain had forced the evacuation of around 250 people from their homes and had affected over 1,000 hectares by Friday morning.

The Spanish government’s regional delegate, Bella Verano, explained that the fire began at around 16:30 local time on Thursday and was being fought by over 100 firemen and local residents on the ground, with the help of 19 aircraft and helicopters.

Verano said the fire was likely caused by a car that had caught fire, but added that “the spark could have come from anywhere and with the heat and the wind”, the flames could quickly spread.

She explained that “high temperatures and strong gusts of wind” made it difficult to extinguish the flames quickly.

Temperatures on Thursday reached 38 degrees Centigrade in the area, although they are expected to drop to around 34 or 35 degrees Centigrade on Friday.

Thursday evening saw 180 people evacuated from the villages of Cueva de la Mora and Monte Blanco, with a further 70 residents from the small village of El Villar forced to leave their homes in the early hours of Friday.

Emergency service sources explained that the residents of El Villar had been temporarily accommodated in a theater in the nearby small town of Zalamea la Real.

This year, Spain had registered 3,607 fires by July 12, 40 percent less than the average for the summer season, according to the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (Miteco).

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