Madrid region wildfire still burns out of control on fourth day

MADRID (AP) — A wildfire in hills near Madrid was contained but still not extinguished on Monday after burning for four straight days, authorities said.

More than 500 firefighters supported by 49 vehicles and 14 water-dropping aircraft attended the blaze some 60 kilometres west of the Spanish capital.

The aircraft were taking special care to avoid dumping water on the nest of an imperial eagle — a protected species — in the area, the Madrid region emergency services said.

A conservation group said the nest contained a chick.

Lower temperatures after a record-breaking heat wave in recent days and a weakening wind gave officials hope they might soon get an upper hand over the blaze, Madrid Regional Fire Chief Agustín de la Herrán said.

A helicopter collects water from a livestock water reserve to extinguish a wildfire near Cadalso de los Vidrios on the outskirts of Madrid. – AP

However, temperatures in the area were still around 36 degrees Celsius.

Police were investigating the cause of the fire.

Separately, a major wildfire in northeast Spain, which started last Wednesday, was brought under control late Sunday.

Wildfires this year charred more than 38,500 hectares of woodland up to June 23 — roughly three times more than in the same period last year.

The Agriculture Ministry’s latest figures do not include blazes in recent days which have blackened around 24,700 acres.