FIREFIGHTERS in Catalunya have battled a wildfire that destroyed 400 hectares of forest and forced 350 people to be evacuated from their homes.

The blaze is believed to have been sparked by someone carelessly tossing a cigarette stub in scrubland on the edge of the Cap de Creus natural park in Spain’s Costa Brava region.

Catalunya’s fire service said on Sunday morning that they had brought the blaze under control but not until it ravaged over 450 hectares of forest within the natural park.

The fire broke out Friday evening and continued all day Saturday with fire service using six water-carrying planes to douse the flames while 90 fire crews battled the flames from the ground.

Some 300 people had to leave their homes with many seeking shelter overnight in temporary accommodation offered by the local council in El Port de la Selva district.

Investigators believe the fire was started by a disguarded cigarette and warned that those responsible faced criminal charges.

“One negligent cigarette butt is 50 years of reforestation,” warned Jordi Puignero, vice president of the Catalan regional government.


VIDEO: More than 300 people evacuated from hotel as wildfire breaks out in Manilva on Spain’s Costa del Sol

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