A man is being treated for severe burns after he dramatically escaped a ferocious wildfire that saw him engulfed in a field of flame.
Angel Martin Arjona was digging a trench in an attempt to prevent the Locasio fire from reaching the village of Tabara in the Zamora region of northwest Spain.
But – as he drove the digger across the field – he appears to have gotten lost after his view of a potential escape route was obstructed by the massive fire surrounding him, as shown terrifying images shared online.
For a moment, he and the vehicle disappear into the fire, but then the clip shows Mr. Arjona, the owner of a construction warehouse, emerging from the fire, briefly catching his breath, then continuing to run for his life.
He stumbles on the ground, but quickly gets up to continue running while patting the flames on his pants.
Mr Arjona suffered severe burns and was airlifted to the burns unit at Rio Hortega University Hospital in Valladolid – his friend, mechanic Juan Lozano, told Reuters news agency.
“[The wildfire] could have burned everything, absolutely everything. It’s not because there are good professionals and people with the balls to protect us,” Lozano said.
In the Zamora region, at least two people have been killed by forest fires. The body of a 69-year-old farmer was found Monday in the same hilly area where a 62-year-old firefighter died the day before.
Across Western Europe, swathes of forested and residential areas have been destroyed by forest fires partly caused by heat waves.
In the last 10 days, the total area burned by forest fires in France, Spain and Portugal exceeds 40,000 hectares – according to the European Union. This is equivalent to at least 75 football pitches.
On Tuesday, officials said there was a “very extreme danger” of wildfires in France, Italy, Spain and the UK – according to heatmaps distributed by Copernicus Emergency Management Service.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has blamed climate change for the destruction as the country has seen more than 10 days of temperatures above 40C.
He said on a visit to the Extremadura region on Monday: “Climate change kills. It kills people, it kills our ecosystems and our biodiversity.
Teresa Ribera, Spain’s Minister for Ecological Transition, called her country “literally under fire” as she attended climate change talks in Berlin, and warned of “still terrifying prospects for the days to come”. come”.
In Portugal, where the heat reached 47C earlier this month, the bodies of an elderly couple were found inside a charred vehicle after they were involved in a car accident as they were trying to escape a forest fire in the municipality of Murça, in the north of the country.
Mayor of Murça, Mario Artur Lopes, said the couple’s bodies were discovered around 4.30pm on Monday – adding that “more than half the municipality was on fire”.