Firefighters in northern Spain struggle to contain scores of fires sparked by unusually warm temperatures and a lack of rain, emergency officials say. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) More than 130 fires raged across northern Spain on Sunday (December 20), sparked by unusually warm temperatures and a lack of rain, emergency officials said. Hillsides across the area were covered in a thick blanket of smoke as flames engulfed grasslands and trees. Fires have been reported across the northern autonomous regions of Asturias, Basque Country, Cantabria, Galicia and Navarra, according to EL Mundo newspaper. In the northeastern Basque country, authorities issued a yellow alert as a fire raged at San Sebastian's Monte Igueldo, a mountainous area popular with tourists. Several dozen people were evacuated. The fire began on Saturday (December 19) and has burned over 50 hectares, the newspaper reported. It said the cause was undetermined. More than 100 fires have been reported in the northwest rural province of Asturias, according to its emergency office. Light rain was reported to be helping more than 200 firefighters battle the situation. For several hours, officials closed the highway and train that connect Asturias to Spain's Galicia region. Asturias regional President Javier Fernandez told El Pais newspaper that the rapid spread of the fires in his province suggested they may have been deliberately set.