A series of wildfires have been documented in Spain since 20 March 2023. In Spain, fires typically become severe in June summer. However, in 2023, the fire season started early with an intense fire in the eastern Castellon province in late March.

As of 11 April, authorities in the Autonomous Communities of Asturias reported more than 100 active forest fires in the region. The municipalities of Allande, Tineo, Valdes, and Villayon in western Asturias and the municipality of Pilona in eastern Asturias have the most concerning flames.


Causes of Wildfire in Spain

There are several causes of wildfires in Spain, including natural causes such as:

  • Lightning strikes
  • High temperatures, west winds, and a lack of moisture resulting in the territory’s topsoil getting dehydrated, exacerbates forest fires.
  • Unusually arid winter resulting in temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius and relative humidity below 30 percent.

A majority of wildfires are caused by human activities, such as:

  • Careless or accidental burning of debris, cigarettes, or campfires.
  • Intentional fires for agricultural purposes, such as clearing land or managing pastures.
  • Arson, or the deliberate setting of fires for malicious purposes.
  • Poorly maintained electrical equipment, such as power lines or transformers, which can spark and start fires.
  • Uncontrolled industrial activities, such as welding or cutting, which can produce sparks that ignite vegetation.

Recent developments:

  • As of 11 April, firefighters are attempting to contain the fire in Villanueva de Viver Municipality, Castellon Province, Valencia Autonomous Community. The fire started on 30 March and has affected over 4,000 hectares. (9,884 acres). More than 500 firefighters are battling the blaze.
  • In Castellon Province, authorities have issued a red extreme (the highest level on a three-tier scale) danger of wildfires. In the coming hours and days, additional wildfire growth is anticipated.
  • The largest fire is raging in Baleira Municipality, Lugo Province, Galicia. The fire started late on 31 March near the community of Cubilledo and has since expanded to approximately 1,100 hectares. (2,718 acres). More than 43 personnel are present to combat the fire. At least four villages in the region were evacuated.
  • As the wildfire spread, authorities in Castellon Province evacuated approximately 1,500 people from Aranuel, Fuente la Reina, Los Calpes, Los Cantos, La Monzona, Montan, Puebla de Arenoso, and Montanejos municipalities, as well as La Alqueria de Montanejos and La Artejuela towns.
  • Due to the spread of fire, additional evacuation orders were issued for the municipalities of Higueras, Pavias, and Torralba, while the municipality of Caudiel was placed under a shelter-in-place order due to smoke.
  • In Segorbe, crews have established an emergency shelter. Around 250 people were evacuated in Teruel Province, Aragon Autonomous Community, including the Olba and San Agustin municipalities.
forest fire

Impact of wildfire in Spain

  • Spain has lost 306,000 hectares to wildfires as of April 2023. This was more than three times the previous year’s total.
  • In March 2023, the country’s worst fire destroyed 60,000 hectares of Sierra de la Culebra in the northwest. The fire has compelled approximately 1,500 residents to evacuate their residences.
  • As of April, more than 500 firefighters, supported by 18 aircraft and helicopters, are battling an active fire near the village of Villanueva de Viver in the Valencia region.

Possible impact on Businesses

  • Damage to physical infrastructure, such as buildings and equipment, which can disrupt operations and result in additional expenditure.
  • Interruption of supply chains, as roads and transportation systems may be closed or damaged.
  • Loss of inventory and merchandise, as well as decreased sales due to reduced tourism and closures of businesses in affected areas.
  • Increased costs for insurance and property damage assessments.
  • Disruption of employee productivity and morale, as well as potential health risks from exposure to smoke and air pollution.

Things to do before Forest Fire:


  • Organisations located in regions where frequent forest fires occur are advised to consider installing outside sprinklers for exposure protection and ensure the system has adequate water supply.
  • It is also advised to review the insurance coverage to make sure that it sufficiently compensates any losses in case of adverse situation.
  • It is advised to seal building openings with tight-fitting and noncombustible doors or shutters and to cover vents with wire mesh. The same would prove beneficial when implementing the wildfire rescue plan.
  • Organisations are advised to create a fire-resistant zone for at least 100 feet from the building, which is free of leaves and other flammable materials. For grassland and woodland fires, a fire-resistant zone should be 330 feet.
  • Employees should be given adequate training about wildfire risks and preparedness.


  • Employees living in fire prone areas must be trained well to deal with fire incidents so that in case of forest emergencies least damage and injuries are caused. Most of the local departments in fire prone areas would provide these education programs for safety of the local residents.
  • During inspection of household, individuals should make sure that the nearby trees should have a 10-foot horizontal clearance from the property. Trees should be properly trimmed. Branches should not hang over the roof, touch any structure, or grow under eaves or near a chimney. Also, removal of dead and dangling limbs to keep a clearance of at least six feet between the ground and the lowest branches.
  • If there is extra firewood or gas tank present in the house, then keep it at least 20 feet away from the house. Do not keep firewoods under a deck or balcony or any other exposed area.
  • Keep all important IDs and papers with you or at an accessible location. Make duplicates of important documents and secure them away from the original papers.
  • Always keep an emergency bag ready so that in case of evacuation, an individual can leave the dangerous area as soon as possible.

During Forest Fire:


  • In case of a wildfire emergency, it is advised to gather emergency supplies including N95 respirator masks that can filter out particles in the air while breathing. People should keep in mind their specific needs including an action plan for people suffering from respiratory illness.
  • During a wildfire, it is recommended to pay heed to air quality alerts and expeditious evacuation orders for affected areas.
  • Employees trapped in a building are advised to call emergency contacts and give their location, shut down building air intakes and turn off unnecessary utilities. It is advised to use an N95 mask to keep out harmful particles.
  • Organisations that sell or use highly combustible materials should consider removing them from the property until the threat or evacuation alert has passed.
  • Employees are advised to follow workplace wildfire responses/ evacuation policy.


  • If a forest fire escalated, individuals should immediately vacate the properties near the high alert zone.
  • Always keep an emergency kit handy. The kit should ideally consist of emergency medicines, first aid kit, government documents (Passport), extra keys (both cars and house), water, flashlights with new batteries, deep-freeze non-perishable meals, essential tools like knives and pliers, paracord, carabiners, a jacket, blanket, clothes and personal hygiene products.
  • Detach electrical garage doors.
  • After evacuation, take shelter in local relief centre and shelters.
  • Turn off air conditioning/air circulation systems.
  • Keep phones charged at all times. Fire department and ambulance contact numbers should be on your phone for ready access.

After Forest fires


  • In the aftermath of a wildfire situation, it is advised to examine all heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, clean surface areas and replace filters before resuming operation.
  • Check the roofs, decks and other exterior areas for sparks and embers.
  • Employers should conduct a risk assessment of the workplace after a forest fire to determine any potential hazards. This should include checking for smoke and ash residue, evaluating the condition of the building, and assessing the air quality. This will help to identify any potential risks to employees and enable employers to take appropriate measures to reduce those risks.
  • Employers should establish a communication channel to keep employees informed about any potential risks and the steps being taken to mitigate them. This can include regular updates through email or other form of communication.
  • Employers should train employees on emergency procedures, including evacuation plans and how to respond to smoke or fire alarms. This will ensure that employees are aware of what needs to be done in case of an emergency and can evacuate the building quickly and safely.


  • After the fires have burnt out, contact the local fire departments to confirm the status of fire before going back to the house.
  • Due diligence to be followed while entering / navigating through impacted areas as flare-ups can occur.
  • Check the grounds for hot spots, smouldering stumps and vegetation. In case the ground is hot then use lots of buckets of water to cool down the area.
  • Check the house thoroughly including the garage and attic for any possible hidden burning, sparks and embers.
  • Continue to check the abovementioned areas in the homes for several days f or possible flare-ups.

General Recommendations:

  • Regularly clear dry vegetation and other combustible materials from around buildings, roads, and power lines to create a clear zone that can help slow or stop the spread of fires.
  • Prohibit smoking and open flames in forested areas, and properly dispose of cigarette butts and other fire hazards.
  • Monitor weather conditions and fire danger levels, and adjust activities accordingly.
  • Conduct regular inspections and maintenance of electrical equipment, such as power lines and transformers, to prevent sparks and other potential sources of ignition.
  • Educate the public about the dangers of forest fires, including how they can start and how to prevent them, and encourage responsible behavior in forested areas.
  • Advised to follow official website of State Meteorological Agency – AEMET at https://www.aemet.es/en/portada for latest warnings and updates.

Emergency Contacts:

  • Emergency services: 112
  • Firemen: 080
  • Police: 091

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