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Wildfire in Spain rages for third day amid heatwave

Published:Friday | June 28, 2019 | 11:25 AM
Firefighters try to extinguish a wildfire in Palma d'Ebre, near Tarragona, Spain, Thursday, June 27, 2019. Authorities suspect the cause of the outbreak was a deposit of improperly stored manure. Firefighters say that high temperatures and a drop in humidity will likely fan the flames. (AP Photo/Jordi Borras)

MADRID (AP) — Firefighters and aircraft battled for a third straight day Friday to contain a major wildfire that started in a pile of chicken dung and raced across the hills of northeastern Spain amid a heat wave.

Authorities said more than 700 firefighters, eight helicopters and six water-dropping aircraft aimed to slow the fire’s progress until nightfall, when cooler temperatures might give them an advantage.

A stiff breeze was driving the flames in the direction of Lleida, 19 miles away, though officials said the city wasn’t considered to be under threat.

Temperatures in the area of the fire reached 41 C (106 F) as parts of Europe recorded their hottest June temperatures in recent memory due to hot air moving north from Africa.

Temperatures were forecast to drop from Saturday.

Authorities said the fire is the Catalonia region’s worst fire in two decades and 20,000 hectares of hilly terrain are at risk.

By Friday, an estimated 6,000 hectares had burned.

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