Arsonists blamed over major fire in central Spain
MADRID - The Associated Press
View of the forest fire between Valdemaqueda and Robledo de Chavela villages, Madrid, central Spain, 27 August 2012. EPA photoA wildfire that forced the evacuation overnight of some 2,000 people from residential areas just west of Madrid was likely started by several people working together, authorities said Tuesday.
Regional justice department chief Regina Planol told Cadena SER radio that the fire affecting three towns was started in six points almost simultaneously, indicating it was arson.
She compared it to "environmental terrorism."
It was not immediately clear who was responsible, but there are thousands of forest fires every year, and they are often set off so that land may be rezoned and sold for building houses
Spanish National Television said some 20 square kilometers (8 square miles) of land have burned.
Alvaro Santamaria, mayor of one of the affected towns, Valdemaqueda, said the fire came as close as 100 meters to the town’s houses. He said firefighters were confident the blaze could be brought under control Tuesday.
Spain has seen 1,500 square kilometers (580 square miles) of land burnt in nearly 12,000 wildfires this year.