'What is left to burn?': Spanish villagers return to smouldering homes in Galicia

·2-min read

Temperatures climbed up near 40C in northwestern Spain again today, making the battle against the wildfires that have been tearing through the region even more difficult.

Thirty fires are still burning across the country.

Tens of thousands of acres of land have burned so far and thousands of people have been evacuated, particularly from the small villages and towns spread over the mountainous Galicia region.

Firefighters have told Sky News that climate change is making the fire season much worse, with episodes of prolonged heat and drought feeding flames of extraordinary intensity.

Castilla Y Leon fire chief Jose Gutierrez said: "Of course there is no doubt about that.

"I have been working for 22 years and we have never seen fire conditions like this. It is completely new for us."

Of the two deaths reported as a result of the fires, one was a firefighter who was trapped as he fought to contain a blaze.

In some areas of Galicia, people are now being allowed to return to their homes.

We visited the tiny village of O Barrio, where not even the stone church survived unscathed.

Resident Amparo Corcoba has come back to see what is left of her life.

Her house is still smouldering and it’s not safe to go inside.

"It's very sad, very sad," she said.

"My husband inherited this house from his parents and he built this bit with his own hands when he was young, to make it bigger.

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"So for my husband, this really hurts him, and it hurts me too."

Minutes after we finish filming, the creaking ceiling between her ground and second floors collapses with a huge bang.

There is a crisis to recover from in this part of Spain, but increasingly a bigger problem to consider: whether or not it is safe to remain in some of these vulnerable communities as climate change gets worse.

In the neighbouring village of A Veiga de Cascalla Lila Rodriguez told me she has had enough.

"It's the house that my father-in-law built and it's our family home but our intention is to sell it," she said.

"It's a pity, it's a pity."

But others like resident Roberto Rodriquez are more philosophical.

Despite being evacuated from his home as the flames bore down, he told Sky News: "As everything has already burned, what is left to burn?

"I am old, and retired, where should I go?

"I still have a beautiful house."

For the moment, that is true.

Others weren't so lucky and must now pick up the pieces, facing an uncertain future as the danger posed by climate change grows.

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