Crews in southern Spain face ‘complex’ wildfire for 5th day

MADRID (AP) — Firefighting crews in southern Spain are looking at the sky for much-needed rainfall expected on Monday and that they hope can help extinguish a major wildfire that has ravaged 7,700 hectares (19,000 acres) in five days and displaced around 2,600 people from their homes.
Authorities are describing the blaze in Sierra Bermeja, a mountain range in the Malaga province, as a sixth-generation fire of the extreme kind brought by the shifting climate on the planet. The “mega fires” are catastrophic events that kill, blacken large areas and are difficult to stop.
In Spain, that is paired with an increasing dynamic of rural areas losing population, leading to poorer management of forests and accumulation of burnable material.
“We are facing the most complex fire known by the forestry extinction services in recent years,” Juan Sánchez, director of the southern Andalusia region’s anti-fire service, told reporters late Sunday.
“We have been talking a lot about the consequences of the abandonment of the rural environment and climate change,” Sánchez added. “We are seeing them today.”
The affected area has doubled since Saturday, when authorities said that the flames were contained within a perimeter of around 40 kilometers (25 miles). An ember cloud led to a new fire hot spot soon after, causing a new wildfire that eventually joined the previous blaze, experts said Sunday. By Monday morning, the perimeter had reached 85 kilometers (about 50 miles).
Spain’s weather agency, AEMET, had forecasted rain in the area for later Monday, but it was unclear if the rainfall would be sufficient to quell the flames.
About 500 firefighters were working in shifts on the ground, assisted by 50 water-dropping airplanes and helicopters from the air. They were joined on Sunday by 260…
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