Spain: 10 injured leaving a train stopped near a fire

MADRID– An approaching wildfire in eastern Spain forced a train driver to stop and prepare to change direction to avoid the flames, and several passengers were injured when they got off rather than leaving wait, authorities said.

The train was traveling in the Valencia region on Tuesday evening when the driver decided to reverse because of the forest fire that was spreading around the town of Bejís, further east.

Some passengers got off the train when it stopped in the countryside, including those who broke windows to escape, officials said. Ten people were injured, Spanish news agency Efe reported.

The Castellón provincial government tweeted a video of firefighters running for their lives on Wednesday as towering flames from the Bejís blaze roared behind them.

The forest fire is one of two still raging in eastern Spain. South of the city of Valencia, a larger fire in the Val d’Ebo region has forced more than 1,500 people to evacuate towns and villages since the weekend.

Valencia regional president Ximo Puig said on Wednesday that the Bejís fire had a perimeter of around 50 kilometers (30 miles) and had burned some 4,000 hectares (10,000 acres). He said the Val d’Ebo fire had a perimeter of 80 kilometers (50 miles) and had burned some 11,500 hectares (28,000 acres).

The European Forest Fire Information System says 275,000 hectares (679,000 acres) have burned in forest fires so far this year in Spain. That’s more than four times the country’s annual average of 67,000 hectares (165,000 acres) since 2006, when the records began.

In neighboring Portugal, authorities said they were hoping to bring a forest fire under control which burned for 12 days and scorched large swaths of pine forest in the Serra da Estrela natural park.

However, officials have warned that another heat wave predicted for the region could complicate the task.

Smoke from the blaze in Portugal reached the Spanish capital, Madrid, about 400 kilometers (240 miles) to the east on Tuesday.


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