Around 70 residents of Terrateig, a village of only 350 inhabitants, had to be evacuated today because of the fire raging in nearby Llocnou de Sant Jeroni (Valencia), which continues to burn into the night, advancing on two fronts.
Councillor Serafín Castellano confirmed "at this point in time our priority is protecting the public" who have been evacuated from their homes as a preventative measure becuase of the enormous amount of smoke being produced by the fire.
The councillor has been joined in the area by the government delegate in the Comunitat Valenciana, Paula Sánchez de León, and has met with the mayors of the towns and villages affected by the fire and those in charge of the fire-fighting task.
So far the flames have affected Llocnou de San Jeroni and Villalonga, in the comarca of La Safor, and Terrateig and Montixelvo, in the comarca of La Vall d'Albaida.
The changing wind directions, which have switched four times now from west to east and back again, is making the task of extinguishing the fire all the more difficult and it continues to raze the countryside, advancing on two separate fronts.
Most of the land-based fire-fighting crews have concentrated around the village of Terrateig, where residents have been evacuated as a preventative measure. They have formed a barrier to prevent the flames reaching people's homes.
"There is plenty of dry forest available to burn, the wind is blowing and the weather conditions are not exactly conducive to putting out the flames", said Castellano.
The airborne fire-fighting teams withdrew at nightfall, but are due back again at daybreak to continue their work.
230 firefighters from 14 separate crews have been involved in today's attempt to extinguish the flames, as well as 15 aircraft and members of the armed forces.
The possible cause of the fire is being investigated, but no conclusions have been reached so far.