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600 fighting wildfire northwest of Madrid

(Xinhua)

12:06, August 29, 2012

MADRID, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- Firemen aided by fire-fighting aircraft continued to work to extinguish a wildfire in the Community of Madrid on Tuesday.

The fire broke out on Monday close to the towns of Robledo de Chavala, Santa Maria de la Alamadena and Valdemaqueda, northwest of the Spanish capital.

Despite firefighters working throughout the night, the fire is still out of control, and has forced close the railway line between Madrid and the city of Avila as a precaution.

Several roads in the region have also been closed, while smoke from the fire could clearly be seen from the Spanish capital during the morning.

By 8:00 a.m. (GMT 0600), some 600 people, including members of the Red Cross and the Spanish military, were working to put out the wildfire. Meanwhile, around 2,000 people have been evacuated from their homes close to the small town of Robledo de Chavela.

Tuesday morning also saw the battle against the flames reinforced by the arrival of fire-fighting aircraft and a helicopter which has the capacity to carry 4,000 liters of water. Firemen are also arriving from other areas of Spain.

Authorities suspected that the fire was started deliberately, given that it had six different focal points.

President of the Madrid Autonomous Community Esperanza Aguirre has earlier promised that those who are responsible for starting the fire would face "exemplary punishments" when they are captured.

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