After the arrival of wildfire season earlier than expected, “Fire Tourists” were urged to avoid the blazes raging across eastern Spain.
Officials claim that onlookers were putting their lives at risk and disrupting efforts for extinguishing flames.
Emergency services reported that more than 500 firefighters were fighting a fire near Villanueva de Viver, in the Valencia region. They were supported by 20 helicopters and planes.
According to Gabrielo Bravo, Valencia’s regional chief of interior affairs Gabrielo Bravo, police had seen 14 cyclists close by the scene and wanted to take a closer look.
She said, “We ask again and most importantly tourists not to engage fire tourism, or to approach the perimeter area.”
Officials said that Spain’s first major wildfire of this year destroyed more than 4,900 hectares (9.900 acres) of forest in Spain and forced 1,700 villagers from their homes in Valencia and Aragon in eastern Spain.
People have reported that they left their pets behind when they fled their homes.
Residents fear that the fire could have a severe impact on the local economy, which relied heavily on tourism.
Jorge Grausell (72) said that “the people here live off cycling, hiking and a few bars.”
“You can see it and it is a disaster to anyone who loves nature.”
Ximo Puig was the Valencia region’s president. He said that the wildfire started “very early in spring, very voracious right from the beginning”.
He said that the impacts of climate change are “undisputed” and that firefighting should be considered annually.
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