Forest fire in Spain threatens renowned national park

Alberto Diaz, Associated Press

Civil Defence officers lead horses to safely from a forest fire near Mazagon in southern Spain, Sunday June 25, 2017. A forest fire in southern Spain has forced the evacuation of some 1,000 people and is threatening Donana National Park, one of Spain’s most important nature reserves and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1994, and famous for its biodiversity, authorities said Sunday.

BARCELONA, Spain — A forest fire in southern Spain forced the evacuation of at least 1,000 people and threatened a national park famous for its biodiversity and endangered species, authorities said Sunday.

The fire started on Saturday night on Spain’s southern coast, then advanced east to reach the Donana Nature Reserve, one of the country’s most important wildlife sanctuaries and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1994.

“The fire has entered in the limits of the reserve, and that is where we are focusing our efforts,” Jose Gregorio Fiscal Lopez from the regional Andalusian authority in charge of the environment told Spanish national television.

The reserve protects over 107,000 hectares (264,403 acres) considered of extreme ecological value for their mix of ecosystems, including wetlands, dunes and woods. It is a key stop for migratory birds home to a variety of animals, including about a fifth of the 400 remaining Iberian lynxes.

Ecologists who work in the park are concerned that the fire could wipe out some of the area’s prized species and terrain.

“We are worried because the impact could be huge,” Carlos Molina, an…

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