AN inferno that broke out on Thursday in Cortés de Pallás in the Ayora district of the Valencia province continues to burn out of control, with two villas having gone up in flames and 50,000 hectares wiped out.
One elderly gentleman was arrested when he refused to leave his home as police knocked on doors on the Balcón de Montroi and Altura de Turís urbanisations, and ordered occupants to flee for safety reasons.
They said they had no choice but to put the man in handcuffs and force him to leave for his own safety.
Another Colombian woman, aged 28, said she just had time to collect her cat, dog, and a few clothes before having to run from her house after police went from door to door evacuating residents at 07.30hrs on Friday morning.
So far, 900 homes in the area have been evacuated as the flames have spread to nearby villages including Yátova, Turís, Montroi, Macastre, Alborache, Tous and Dos Aguas.
Nearby districts such as the Hoya de Buñol and Ribera Alta have been hit, and smoke and ashes are even filling the streets in the city of Valencia.
Two log-cabin homes in Turis have been razed to the ground, and fences, garages and entire walls of homes of more solid construction have been badly damaged.
There may even be more houses burnt down, says Pilar Lozano, mayoress of Turís, who is among the evacuees, but until they are all allowed home, they will not know for sure what the extent of the damage is.
The Canyà del Pí and Penya de la Nota urbanisations in the Turís area have also been evacuated and the Balcón de Montroi estate is surrounded by a wall of fire, preventing those who had wanted to return home to collect some more of their possessions from doing so.
This is one of the worst forest fires in the province in over 20 years, having now doubled the destruction zone seen in 1994 when a blaze burned out of control for eight days and finished off 25,000 hectares.
And it is now joining up with another fire which started today in the Los Serranos district to the north of the province, in the village of Andillas, where already 200 homes have been evacuated.
The fire in Cortés de Pallás was started accidentally by two solar-panel fitters, who attempted to put the flames out with pieces of cardboard and water when it first broke out.
They have been arrested and charged with negligently starting a forest fire, but have been temporarily released after giving a statement in Requena court.
The blaze in Andillas is said to have been caused by a bonfire on a farm which got out of control.
An aerial view of the two fires shows that both are bigger than the island of Formentera and that the two together exceed the dimensions of Ibiza.
It has been likened to Dante's Inferno and described by regional president Alberto Fabra as 'hell on earth' and looking like 'the end of the world'.