Around 4,000 people were forced to leave their homes in La Palma, on the Spanish Canary Islands overnight Saturday as forest fires spread by strong winds and high temperatures.

Over 250 firefighters have been fighting to extinguish the fires, which have already burnt over 1,500 hectares. With temperatures around 38ºC, and strong winds at over 70 kilometers per hour, the task is proving rather difficult.

The fire originated in the area known as Puerto Roto, causes unknown.

According to figures facilitated Friday by the vice-president Maria Teresa Fernandez de La Vega, Spain has lost around 75,000 hectares to forest fires, practically double the area that was destroyed in 2008. Out of the 75,000 hectares burnt, 45,000 were swept by fire in the past two weeks.

Eight people have died in the fires this summer, many of which have been provoked. 51 people have been arrested to date.

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