Deadly forest fire in Spain claims lives of firefighters

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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A deadly forest fire in Spain's Guadalajara province has claimed the lives of at least 11 fire fighters. The fire began after a group of day trippers in Cueva de los Casares on Saturday left a barbeque unextinguished -- the day trippers have since confessed to causing the fire. At least 11,000 acres have been affected by the fire thus far.

The 11 firefighters, both men and women in their 20s, were trapped in their vehicle after a change in wind direction caused their vehicle to be encircled with flames.

More than 150 firefighters have battled the blaze since Sunday. Water planes and helicopters from the region are assisting in the effort to extinguish the blaze; two French firefighting aircraft have been sent to augment Spanish forces.

Spain suffers on average 20,000 wild fires each year -- a heat wave and lack of rain have contributed to the tinder-box conditions which have exacerbated the fire season this year.