Spanish train passengers shocked as train stops in dramatic wildfires

Video shows flames leaping several feet above the treetops in Zamora province

Lucy Thackray
Tuesday 19 July 2022 10:33 BST
Wildfires surround paused train in Spain

Train passengers in the Spanish province of Zamora got a shock yesterday when their train ground to a halt as it was surrounded by wildfires.

Passenger Francisco Seoane filmed the scene after his train stopped unexpectedly in the Spanish countryside, revealing leaping wildfires on either side of the track.

“It was really scary to see how quickly the fire spread. Just in the blink of an eye, a new bush began burning. It was a matter of seconds,” the Spaniard told The Associated Press on Monday.

“It suddenly became night,” he said of the darkness created by the plumes of smoke. “And we could even smell the smoke.”

Video of the unnerving stop shows about a dozen passengers in Seoane’s railcar becoming alarmed as they look out of the windows.

With no passenger announcements coming over the train’s public address system, Seoane said passengers became agitated and began to stand up in the aisle.

A spokesperson for Adif, which manages Spain’s railway infrastructure, told AP that passengers were never in danger.

The province - in the northwestern region of Castile and Leon - has recorded two deaths from wildfires in the past two days: a 69-year-old shepherd and a 62-year-old firefighter trapped in the flames.

Spain, France and Portugal have all experienced concerning wildfires over the past week as temperatures rise above 40C in some areas.

More than 30 forest fires around Spain have forced the evacuation of thousands of people and blackened some 22,000 hectares (54,300 acres) over the past week.

The Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez linked the disaster to the rise in global temperatures over recent decades, saying on Monday: “Climate change kills.”

“It kills people, it kills our ecosystems and biodiversity.”

Mr Sanchez was visiting an area of the Extremadura region devastated by wildfires.

Blazes have also been sparked in Crete, Morocco and Turkey due to the exceptionally hot, dry weather.

Additional reporting by agencies.

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