Fires

Forest fire that threatened UNESCO park in Spain 'under control,' officials say

Spanish firefighters worked Tuesday to fully extinguish a wildfire that threatened Donana National Park, a renowned conservation wetland and home to the endangered Iberian lynx, officials said.

Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido tweeted that the fire that started Saturday was "under control," roads had been reopened in the area and about 250 soldiers deployed to combat the blaze were returning to their bases.

Around 600 firefighters, including the soldiers, have been working to prevent the fire on Spain's southwestern coast from spreading east to Donana, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1994.

A reconnaissance flight showed "the fire is now practically inactive except for one hot spot," Andalusian regional environment chief Jose Fiscal said. He said the exact amount of land scorched might be known later in the day.

There were no casualties although about 2,000 people had to be temporarily evacuated from their homes and campsites.

The blaze occurred about 30 kilometers (20 miles) west of the park. Authorities were investigating whether it was started deliberately.

The fire came a week after wildfires killed 64 people in neighboring Portugal, which like Spain is suffering a severe lack of rain and soaring temperatures.

Donana National Park protects more than 107,000 hectares (264,403 acres) land. It's a key stop for migratory birds and home to a variety of animals, including Iberian lynxes, one of the world's most endangered feline species, and the Spanish Imperial eagle.

One of the lynxes died as a consequence of the stress suffered when workers tried to get her and other adults and cubs out of a breeding center close to Donana.