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First fatality in Valencia fires
• A huge smoke cloud stretched across much of Valencia
By Helen Pierpoint
ONE helicopter pilot has died and another has been injured while battling the blaze in Valencia.
Two fires broke out last week in Valencia and have continued to spread throughout the region.
One of the fires at Cortes de Pallas is now under control after damaging tens of thousands of hectares of land and causing 3,000 people to be evacuated from their homes.
Two helicopters have crashed while working on the fire which began last Thursday (June 28).
One of the pilots is feared to have perished while the pilot and co-pilot of the second helicopter escaped with minor injuries.
The President of the Generalitat regional government, Alberto Fabra, described the affected area as a ‘gruesome and devastating landscape’.
What has been described as ‘an enormous smoke cloud’ has been visible over much of Valencia.
Two men accused of starting the fire while installing solar panels are now on provisional release.
Another 57-year-old man has been arrested for starting a fire in Andilla.
According to sources, the second fire has ‘stabilised’ as changes in wind direction and more fire-fighters both on the ground and in the air combatted the flames.
Some residents have even been allowed to return home.
The two fires are considered by many to be the worst in over two decades.
Fourteen roads were closed, more than 48,000 hectares of land damaged and 1,800 workers deployed to extinguish the flames.
‘’There are many days of work ahead of us to control the main fires.’’ said a spokesperson for the Castellon firefighters.
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