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Death toll in wildfires in Catalonia rises to four

The death toll of the devastating wildfires in the Alt Empordà region, in north-east Catalonia, has risen to four this Monday, after a 64 year-old Frenchman died in hospital from his burns. He suffered 80% burns to his body. A father and daughter died on Sunday after jumping off a cliff to escape the flames in Portbou. A third man died of a heart attack in the small town of Llers. Eight injured people were admitted in hospitals in Catalonia. Six of them are in a critical condition, according to the Health Department. In total, forty-seven people have been treated for injures during the fires, although only eight remain in hospital.

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23 July 2012 01:32 PM

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ACN

La Jonquera (ACN).- The death toll of the devastating wildfires in the Alt Empordà region, in north-east Catalonia, has risen to four this Monday, after a 64 year-old Frenchman died in hospital from his burns. He suffered 80% burns to his body. A father and daughter died on Sunday after jumping off a cliff to escape the flames in Portbou. A third man died of a heart attack in the small town of Llers. Eight injured people were admitted in hospitals in Catalonia. Six of them are in a critical condition, according to the Health Department. In total, forty-seven people have been treated for injures during the fires, although only eight remain in hospital.


The injured admitted to the Hosptial de la Vall d\u2019Hebron, in Barcelona, are a 70 year-old man, a 36 year-old man, a 56 year-old man and a 45 year-old woman. In Girona, a 42 year-old woman and a 10 year-old girl are in a serious condition and are being treated at the Hospital Josep Trueta. An 85 year-old woman and an 18 year-old have also been to the same hospital, their condition is improving. The Alt Empordà, in north-east Catalonia, is suffering the worst wildfires in almost thirty years.

The first fire started in the town of La Jonquera, near the border with France and is still out of control. Strong winds of up to 90 km/h fanned the blaze, and forced thousands of citizens to stay at home. Government officials decided to close the AP-7 highway and the N-II, the main road connecting with southern France. They are now reopened to traffic. Some local roads, however, are still affected by the fires. They are the GI-500 and G-501 in Agullana, the GI-504 connecting Agullana and Terrades, G-610 in Vilajuïga and GIP-5101 between Avinyonet de Puigventós I Terrades. Citizens and tourists in the area of the Alt Empordà were asked to stay indoors during the worst hours of the fires and not use their cars unless in an emergency. On Monday, only residents in Terrades and Darnius are urged to stay at home.

The second fire started in Portbou, near the coastal-border with France. Many people were trapped by the fire as they travelled along the N-260 road to France. They were on this road because the main connections to southern France, the N-II and the AP-7, were cut off due to the blaze in La Jonquera. Two of the victims died in Portbou, when they tried to escape the flames by jumping off a cliff. The fire in Portbou is now under control and the road has been reopened. However, officials are not allowing heavy vehicles to circulate.

The smell of the still burning fires from Alt Empordà reached Barcelona this Monday, as confirmed by the city\u2019s Fire Department. The smell of smoke alerted certain residents to mistakenly call the emergency services to report a fire.

Some 800 children have been evacuated from camps in the area of Alt Empordà as a result of the fire. Josep Lluís Cleries, the Minister for Social Welfare and Family Affairs, explained that the area was a common location for camping and that an evacuation strategy was put into place. Most of the children were transferred to community centers in nearby villages for the night and some of them have already returned home.

Artur Mas, the President of the Catalan Government, explained that the fire could have been caused by \u201Cgross negligence\u201D, in reference to a discarded cigarette butt as the cause of the fire. He pointed out that conditions this summer \u201Care very bad\u201D and that "any carelessness can wreak havoc." Mas appealed to residents and vistors to exercise caution.

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  • The fire near the highway in La Jonquera (by ACN)

  • Fireman trying to keep the flames under control (by ACN)

  • People jumping off a cliff to escape the flames in the town of Portbou (by ACN)

  • The fire near the highway in La Jonquera (by ACN)
  • Fireman trying to keep the flames under control (by ACN)
  • People jumping off a cliff to escape the flames in the town of Portbou (by ACN)