Wildfire rages in eastern Spain, hundreds evacuate

STORY: A raging wildfire in eastern Spain has forced hundreds of people to leave their homes.

Emergency services were alerted about the blaze in the region of Valencia at lunchtime on Thursday.

Military firefighters worked through the night to try to get it under control.

Earlier in the day, large plumes of smoke filled the sky over Villanueva de Viver,

as many local villagers decided to head for safety.

“We are evacuating as a precautionary measure, we do not have the order given but we know that this valley is very complicated at the time of evacuation since the roads are narrow.”

“Yes, we are (worried). We did not expect this, but this is the result of the forests having been abandoned. It’s a shame.”

Three villages of more than 1,000 people are reported to have been evacuated.

Emergency services said they had set up a refuge for 600 people and a field hospital.

It marks Spain's first wildfire this year.

And follows a winter which, according to EU scientists, was the second warmest on record and unusually dry.

While the month of February saw record-low levels of soil moisture in some areas.