Spanish forest fire claims sixth firefighter in week

Spain is plagued by forest fires every summer, when dry weather sets in along with high temperatures.
A firefighter who was trapped in a fast-moving forest fire in eastern Spain Tuesday and hospitalized with severe burns, died Friday near Barcelona, the Catalan regional government said on its Web site.

He was the sixth firefighter this week to die from forest fires raging around Spain. The 31-year-old man was with a group of firefighters battling a forest fire in Horta de Sant Joan in eastern Tarragona province Tuesday, when winds suddenly shifted, trapping them. Four firefighters in the group were killed immediately, authorities said, while several others were injured. The 31-year-old firefighter, who worked for the regional Catalan government, had burns on more than 50 percent of his body. The Horta de Sant Joan fire was brought under control midday Friday, the Catalan government said, after burning 1,020 hectares, or 2,520 acres. On Thursday, a 44-year-old firefighter died while driving a fire truck to fight a forest fire in eastern Teruel province, the regional Aragon government said on its Web site. The Aragon region borders the Catalan region. Some 7,000 hectares (17,300 acres) have already burned in Teruel province and Friday there were still various fronts to the fire, CNN partner station CNN+ reported, from the scene. Aircraft, including planes and helicopters, were being used to fight the fires in the Aragon region, along with hundreds of firefighters in the hilly terrain, much of it with difficult access. On Thursday, more than 800 Spanish troops were also fighting numerous forest fires across Spain, the Environment Ministry said. Spanish media reported that a fire in the town of Mojacar, in southern Almeria province, forced the Thursday night evacuation of 3,000 people. Spain is plagued by forest and brush fires every summer, when extremely dry weather sets in along with high temperatures. In 2005, 11 people were killed when they were trapped by a fast-moving fire in Guadalajara province, east of Madrid.