Spain forest fire forces more than 1,500 from homes and campsites

Emergency services fight to contain major blaze in Huelva, Andalucía, which has been on high alert due to heat wave.

A major forest fire in southern Spain has forced the evacuation of more than 1,500 people from homes, campsites and hotels, according to a government official.

Like much of Spain, the area in Huelva is on high alert for forest fires because of a heatwave. Last week, 64 people died in a forest fire in neighbouring Portugal.

The blaze was spotted on Saturday night in the Moguer region in Huelva, Andalucía, and was being treated as a level 1 – or maximum threat – by emergency services.

José Fiscal, environment minister for the Andalucía regional government, said on Sunday the fire was likely to have been caused by arson, Spanish newspaper El País reported.

Emergency services were working to contain the fire but windy conditions made it difficult to predict when the blaze would be brought completely under control.

“We expect changes in the wind that could affect the fire,” Antonio Sanz, government delegate in Andalucía, told reporters.

By Sunday morning emergency services had deployed 11 planes, 10 helicopters and dozens of land vehicles against the flames in a joint military-civilian operation.

About 750 people are being housed temporarily in sports centres, according to the emergency services. Some residents had been allowed to return to their properties.

The fire could threaten the Doñana national park, an important wildlife reserve home to numerous endangered species including the Iberian lynx and Spanish imperial eagle.