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Fires rage through vast woodlands in northern Spain

Around 1,700 people from 13 villages in Spain were forced to evacuate their homes due to wildfires raging across the country, while much of Europe suffered an early heatwave. Officials said the blaze in the Sierra de Culebra mountain range in the province of Zamora started Wednesday during a dry electric storm. Video shared by the UME Spanish Emergency military unit showed rescue personnel working to contain the fires. Smaller wildfires were also raging in central Toledo province and in the north eastern provinces of Zaragoza in Aragon, as well as Lleida in Catalonia. Regional Catalan firefighters declared the fire in the Solsones area stabilized, although a second one in Baldomar remained partially out of control. As of early Saturday the fire atop Montsec mountain had affected about 1,700 hectares so far. Most of Spain was at high risk of forest fire Friday as the country endured a sixth day of an unusually early heatwave. Temperatures of more than 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) have been recorded in many cities and other areas throughout the week. Officials expected the torrid heat to begin to ease on Sunday.