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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 July 2005, 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK
Spain battles to contain inferno
Firemen tackle a blaze by the village of Santa Maria del Pinar in Guadalajara
Firefighters laboured through the night to douse the flames
Firefighters backed by water-bombing planes are still battling a deadly forest fire near two villages in central Spain.

Eleven volunteer firefighters died tackling the blaze on Sunday.

It has destroyed up to 12,000 hectares of pine woodland and is threatening the villages of Selas and Ablanque.

A group of day trippers told police that their barbecue had ignited the fire. A regional spokeswoman said only one of them would face charges.

The fire began in pine woodland at Cueva de los Casares on Saturday.

Police say it was fanned by blustery winds in very dry conditions.

Containment

But on Tuesday officials in the Castilla-La Mancha regional administration said the fire could be brought under control within 24 hours if its intensity and the wind direction did not change.

Map showing Guadalajara province

Firefighters battled all night against the flames and created a fire-break eight kilometres (five miles) long and about 50 metres wide, the daily El Pais reported.

France, which is also suffering a serious drought, sent two firefighting aircraft to assist with the Spanish efforts.

The fires in Spain have forced hundreds of homes to be evacuated.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
See the devastation left by the forest fire



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