MADRID (AP) – Francisco Seoane and his fellow passengers got a fright when their train stopped in the Spanish countryside and they looked out the window: Wildfires were encroaching on them from both sides of the track.
“It was really scary to see how quickly the fire spread. Just in the blink of an eye, a new bush began burning. It was a matter of seconds,” the Spaniard told The Associated Press on Monday.
“It suddenly become night,” he added. “And we could even smell the smoke” inside the railcar.
Video of the unscheduled – and unnerving – stop shows about a dozen passengers in Seoane’s railcar becoming alarmed as they look out of the windows. Flames licked at the vegetation, and smoke darkened the blue skies as the train drew to a halt on Monday morning in the province of Zamora, where blazes have charred large areas of woodland in recent days.
That province has recorded two deaths from wildfires in the past two days: a 69-year-old shepherd and a 62-year-old firefighter trapped in the flames.
With no passenger announcements coming over the train’s public address system, Seoane said passengers became agitated and began to stand up in the aisle. An Adif spokeswoman told The AP that passengers were never in danger.
More than 30 forest fires around Spain have forced the evacuation of thousands of people and blackened some 22,000 hectares over the past week.