A wildfire raging in Spain’s northeastern region of Catalonia on Monday has destroyed over 1,200 hectares (3,000 acres) of land and forced the evacuation of some 800 people, local officials said.

The fire, which broke out on Sunday near the town of Odena some 70 kilometres (40 miles) west of Barcelona, was still out of control but authorities said weaker winds and rising humidity were helping slow its advance.

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The blaze was started accidentally by a 59-year-old farmer when he was using a straw-chopping machine, the regional government of Catalonia said in a statement.

The man voluntarily turned himself to police station on Monday and was charged.

The wildfire has burned a total of 1,235 hectares of land as of 1:30 pm (1130 GMT), the statement said.

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Local officials on Sunday evacuated two residential complexes, several restaurants and an animal refuge.

Around 800 people were evacuated and 124 spent the night in sports complexes, local firefighters said.

In the northwestern region of Galicia another wildfire near the town of Navia de Suarna was stabilised late on Sunday after ravaging 431 hectares of a nature reserve.

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Firefighters battled a total of 11 blazes on Sunday in five regions — Andalusia in the southwest; Asturias, Galicia and Castile and Leon in the north, and Catalonia in the northeast.

Since July 19 wildfires have ravaged nearly 39,000 hectares of land in Spain, according to the provisional figures from the agriculture ministry.


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