MADRID, Spain – Crews battling hundreds of forest fires for the past two weeks in Spain's northwestern Galicia region have managed to control all but four blazes, officials said Tuesday. None of those fires is considered serious, and rain is forecast for Wednesday, the rural affairs department of the Galician regional government said.
Cooler temperatures and the absence of wind have helped the 8,000 firefighters, soldiers and other people battling the fires, a department official said under ground rules barring her name from being published.
A total of 1,750 fires broke out in Galicia from Aug. 1-13, a figure the official said was well above average, although she did not have comparable figures for other years. Four people have died.
Officials blame arsonists in most cases and 27 people have been arrested on suspicion of arson.
On Tuesday alone, another 38 new fires were ignited, although all but two of them were brought under control over the course of the day, the official said.
Regional prosecutor Alvaro Garcia Ortiz said Monday that many factors cause people to start forest fires deliberately, including wanting to see land rezoned for new homes, turning forest into grazing land or out of sheer malice