HUNDREDS of tourists and local residents have been forced to flee after a major wild fire broke out in the Sierra del Segura, Albacete.
Over 1,200 hectares of pine forest have already been devastated by the blaze, around 700 of which lie in the Calar del Río Mundo y de la Sima natural park.
Although not yet under control, 200 fire fighters and 20 aerial vehicles including planes and helicopters have managed to establish a line of defence around 67 per cent of its permieter.
More than 500 people have been forced to flee from the municipalities of Yeste and Molinocos, plus a camp site and a childrens’ summer camp.
“The prognosis is better today than yesterday [Friday],” said Francisco Martinez Arroyo, Castilla-La Mancha’s agricultural councillor.
Locals, meanwhile, have blamed ecologists for the fire, which broke out last Thursday.
Nicolas, a resident of the hamlet of Riopar, said: “They denounce us if we collect pine cones or mushrooms from the ground, or clear the rivers.”
Another resident, Antonio, added: “The culprit is of course the one who started the fire, but if they cleared brushwood and allowed cattle to graze we would not be here now waiting to see if we need to run or not.”