MORE than 3,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes after a forest fire engulfed parts of the Mediterranean coast in northern Spain.

Fire officials believe the fire began after a rat chewed through an electricity cable at a construction site at the Bonmont housing estate in Tarragona, Catalunya.

Strong winds caused the flames to rapidly spread, destroying 200 hectares of scrubland and white pine forest.

Two beach campsites and a golf course also had to be evacuated.

Authorities closed the AP7 motorway, the N340 road and the local rail network, cutting off transport communications between the regions of Catalunya and Valencia.

Five people were treated for smoke inhalation and burns.

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