Firefighters, troops battle forest fire outside Madrid

Thick clouds of smoke billowing up at the Robledo de Chavela region in Spain yesterday. (Facebook pic/Angel Bravo Hernandez)

MADRID: Spanish firefighters and military emergency personnel battled amid blistering heat on Monday to control a wildfire in the Madrid region that had burned through the night and forced the evacuation of several houses.

The director of Madrid’s emergency services said early on Monday that firefighters had established a perimeter around the blaze and would now deploy aircraft to drop water on the flames.

“There is no risk to any population right now. We will be well-prepared if the fire changes course,” Carlos Novillo said in a video posted to social media.

Helicopter footage showed thick clouds of black smoke billowing up from steep scrubby slopes.

A spokeswoman for the emergency services confirmed a handful of isolated houses had been evacuated as a precautionary measure but no communities were at risk.

She could not confirm the source of the fire, which comes amid a heatwave across southern Europe that has sent temperatures soaring above 40°C in Spain, leaving it highly vulnerable.

Madrid emergency services said 16 crews, as well as three aircraft, were deployed to tame the blaze around the sparsely populated Robledo de Chavela region, 40km northwest of the Spanish capital.