THE FIRST major wildfire of the year in Spain, which broke out earlier this week in the Valencia region, had stabilised by Saturday morning thanks to the absence of wind and high humidity. 

The blaze was located near the village of Villanueva de Viver in Castellon province, and had destroyed more than 3,000 hectares of forest on Friday, forcing some 1,500 people from their homes, Reuters reported. 

By Friday night the fire was affecting 4,000 hectares of land in a 40-kilometre perimeter. 

More than 500 firefighters were tackling the incident on Friday, with 18 planes and helicopters providing support. 

Today, Saturday, the same number of personnel will be at the location as well as 20 or so aircraft, according to news agency Europa Press. 

Meanwhile, another fire was reported to be stable on Saturday in San Agustin, located in the Teruel province in Aragón. 

There were, however, concerns that windy conditions forecast for Saturday could worsen the blaze. 

Some 220 residents were evacuated from the area while the A-232 highway had to be cut off. 

Three more forest fires were burning in Asturias but there was no danger to nearby municipalities, Europa Press reported. 

Spain’s environment minister, Teresa Ribera, told reporters in Cadiz on Friday that ‘out-of-season fires’ were becoming more and more common in the country. 

‘Summer is getting longer, it is arriving earlier, and the availability of water and humidity in the soil is unfortunately being reduced, making us much more vulnerable,’ she said, in comments reported by Reuters. 

According to the European Commission’s Forest Fire Information System, 493 fires destroyed a record 307,000 hectares of land in Spain last year.

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