Spanish authorities have evacuated at least 800 people around the coastal town of Gandia in the eastern region of Valencia after a wildfire broke out there and spread quickly overnight amid strong winds, officials said on Friday.
The region, and a large swathe of the eastern portion of the Iberian Peninsula, was on high alert for strong winds for the second day in a row as Storm Ciaran smashed into western Europe.
Spain has suffered a prolonged drought in the past few years that recent rains have only slightly alleviated. The drought and above-normal temperatures throughout the summer and part of the autumn have contributed to the spread of wildfires.
The fire began on Thursday near the village of Montichelvo, emergency services said. Around 2,500 residents in the villages of Potries and Ador were told to stay at home as the winds fanned smoke towards their homes.
Authorities estimated that between 1,000 and 1,400 hectares of land could be affected by flames.
The Valencia regional government asked the Military Emergency Unit (UME) to help firefighters tackle the blaze.
Regional president Carlos Mazon said the cause of the fire remained unknown and would be investigated.
(Input from Reuters)