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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 August 2006, 03:55 GMT 04:55 UK
Spain battles raging forest fires
Man watches fire in Spain
Many of the fires are still tearing through Spanish hillsides
Fires have continued to burn in north-western Spain, claiming a fourth life but showing some signs of burning themselves out.

A 70-year-old man died in hospital from burns suffered as he fought a fire near his home in the Galicia region.

Four hundred troops plus extra helicopters have been sent to the region to protect heavily-populated areas, airports and power stations.

A 90-year-old man is among 24 people held on suspicion of starting fires.

The government has said that many of the fires were started deliberately.


Throughout Saturday authorities battled to stop flames spreading in Galicia, including in Ourense, where fires threatened the provincial capital.

Those arrested are people who knew exactly what they were doing... sometimes more than once
Emilio Perez Tourino
Galician government president
Flames were clearly visible on hillsides overlooking the town of Ourense.

However, the numbers of fires classified as out of control fell on Saturday, as thousands of firefighters, soldiers and volunteers battled the flames across the region.

"We have a situation that is noticeably better than in recent days," Galician rural agency chief Alfredo Canal told the Reuters news agency.

As the flames gradually came under control, Spanish police focused on what they said was probably an organised plot to start fires.

"Those arrested are people who knew exactly what they were doing, knew they were committing crimes and went up into the hills to start fires, sometimes more than once," said Emilio Perez Tourino, president of Galicia's regional government.

Police say conflicts between neighbouring farmers, land disputes, resentment and psychological issues could have motivated any arsonists.

Among those arrested was a 45-year-old woman allegedly found in woodlands carrying an oil lamp and a box of matches.

Watch the battle against spreading fires

In pictures: Spanish fires
13 Aug 06 |  In Pictures
Two held as Spain battles fires
08 Aug 06 |  Europe

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