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updated: 8/11/2012 6:36 PM

Wildfire threatens ancient forest in Spain

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  • A scorched and burnt farm appears Wednesday after the ravages of a wildfire which swept through parts La Gomera, the Canary Islands, Spain.

      A scorched and burnt farm appears Wednesday after the ravages of a wildfire which swept through parts La Gomera, the Canary Islands, Spain.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

MADRID -- Officials say high temperatures have intensified a wildfire on a Spanish island, endangering a valuable wooded area that is a rare survivor of the ancient type of forest that once covered much of Europe.

Regional agriculture spokeswoman Nancy Melo says the flames on La Gomera are encroaching on Garajonay National Park, which contains laurel forests "of incalculable ecological value."

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Melo says some of the wooded land has been in continual existence for 11 million years.

A Canary Island government statement says the fire on La Gomera began a week ago, and that a new fire had begun on neighboring Tenerife island.

Separately, regional environment department spokeswoman Rosa Quintana said firefighters were joined Saturday by 17 water-carrying aircraft to battle a blaze at Ourense in the northwest of the mainland.

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