VALENCIA, Spain, Sept. 5 (UPI) — Wldfire has forced the evacuation of thousands of people from Spain’s eastern Costa Blanca resorts in the Alicante province of Spain.
More than 300 firefighters were battling the fire about 75 miles southeast of Valencia in the town of Javea. The number of soldiers deployed has increased from 43 to 222, Spain’s Military Emergencies Unit announced Monday.
A Valencia emergency services spokeswoman told the Spain Report that some 800 acres of land were affected and 28 aircraft were affected. Crews were attempting to dump enough retardant on the blaze before night falls again, and the aircraft were grounded.
On Sunday, officials evacuated more than 1,000 people from Javea and the resort of Benitachell. On Monday, the fired moved toward populated areas in Cumbre del Sol, forcing more evacuations.
Authorities said three fires were deliberately started on one of the hottest days of the year. Temperatures reached 104 degree Fahrenheit in some places.
“The first clues suggest that it might have been started on purpose,” a spokeswoman for the national government representative’s office in the Valencia region confirmed to The Spain Report,
Officiaks said an arsonist wanted to hurt the Costa Blanca resorts, which are frequented by British tourists.
Daisy Toms-Smith, a British citizen was on vacation with her family members in nearby Cansalades. She told told The Spain Report police blared sirens to order the evacuation.
“We were by the pool, and the planes and helicopters were flying over and then it basically spread, it was right on top of the houses, the whole thing is on fire,” she said.
“We have just been down to the Arenal [beach], people without shoes and everything, and all of the smoke is right down to the sea, the whole mountain is on fire, that whole section of Javea is now cordoned off.”
Nick de Bois, a former British Parliament member, was on the Arenal promenade with two friends. “You got the sense it was under control but it’s now careening down through Pinasol causing quite enormous difficulties,” he told Spanish Report.
In December, there were more than 120 forest fires out in northern Spain, some deliberately, officials said.