The wildfires that broke out, on Sunday, near the city of Girona in the northern part of the Spanish region of Catalonia, have claimed at least four lives and injured 23 others, the local government reported.
The four victims are all French nationals and include a 64 year old man (who died of 80 percent burns), a father and his 15 year old daughter (who jumped to death from a cliff to escape wildfires) and a 75 year old man (who suffered a heart attack as the forest fires engulfed his home), Reuters reported. Firefighters also reported finding a herd of sheep burnt to death, after the fires spread near Darnius.
Girona is a famous tourist spot and is situated on the French-Spanish border. The fires have affected an area of 13,000 hectares inland and burnt about 200 hectares more, near the coastal town of Portbou, where one of the fires broke out. Authorities have not confirmed the cause of the fires but admit they strongly suspect human activity as the trigger.
"Everything indicates that this originated from the imprudence of people, probably through cigarettes that have not been properly stubbed out and which are thrown out of windows," the head of the Catalonian government, Artur Mas, told Reuters.
Firefighting efforts so far include spraying affected areas with water, from helicopters. The Catalonian government has issued safety instructions to its citizens, particularly for those living in areas close to affected areas.
- Unless instructions are given otherwise by authorities, stay inside your house, close doors and windows, bring in washing from washing lines and soak any utensils, plants and furniture outside your house that may burn.
- Take all necessary family medicines, identification (DNI, passport, medical prescriptions, etc.), a bottle of water and a torch with batteries. Take your mobile phone charger and use the phone as little as possible to save the battery. This way, you will have an emergency kit ready in case you are evacuated by the authorities.
- Tie up any pets, or put them in a cage ready for an evacuation order.
- If you find a road cut off or bumper-to-bumper traffic, roll up the windows and turn on the interior ventilation to prevent any ash from getting into the car.
- Take special care with old people and children. Reassure them and make sure they have any medicines or any special food they might need.
Meanwhile, check out horrific photographs of the destruction caused by the Girona forest fires...