A raging fire that broke out on Thursday in Villanueva de Viver, Castellón has forced the evacuation of nearly 2,000 residents from at least 10 villages and towns in the region, including Montanejos, La Alquería de Montanejos, Arañuel, Montán, Fuente La Reina, Los Calpes, Puebla de Arenoso and its hamlets Los Cantos and La Monzona. The fire, which has already destroyed over 1,000 hectares of land, has been described as uncontrolled and very violent. The municipalities have taken swift action to evacuate residents and have rehoused them in municipal pavilions and hotels in nearby towns. The Red Cross has provided beds and blankets for those affected.
The decision to evacuate the affected areas was made as soon as the fire started, with the mayor of San Agustin stating that several neighborhoods in the middle of the mountain without exit had to be evacuated. From the municipalities of the nearest villages, hundreds of neighbors were notified and some were moved to a nearby hotel, especially the elderly. Others have gone to several pavilions in the town of Segorbe, with a capacity for 600 people, where the Red Cross has prepared beds and blankets. Many have arrived there on buses with the little luggage they could take from their homes before being evicted.
The terrain is particularly difficult to access, and the area’s high temperatures, drought, and strong winds have not helped in extinguishing the fire. Despite the challenging conditions, 22 air and 28 ground vehicles are gradually being incorporated into the firefighting efforts. However, the fire is still advancing without control and is proving to be very voracious. In just seven hours, it has razed over 1,000 hectares, causing widespread damage to the affected areas.
The president of the Valencian Generalitat, Ximo Puig, has expressed his concern about the ongoing situation and the potential impact on local communities. He has praised the efforts of the firefighters who are working tirelessly to control the fire and save as much property and wildlife as possible. The goal for the night has been to relentlessly fight the flames to gain control of the situation. However, the residents hope that the fire evolves favorably and they can soon return home.
The affected areas are popular tourist destinations in the region, known for their natural beauty, stunning landscapes, and picturesque towns. The damage caused by the fire has not only affected the residents but also the local economy, which heavily relies on tourism. The local authorities are closely monitoring the situation and working with the emergency services to control the fire and minimize the damage caused.
The situation is a stark reminder of the growing threat of wildfires due to climate change, which is making conditions more favorable for wildfires to occur and spread quickly. It highlights the need for greater preparedness and improved measures to mitigate the impact of such disasters.