Spain's first major wildfire of the year burns

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STORY: Video filmed near the Santa Barbara peak in the eastern Valencia region showed fierce fires blazing, and smoke rising into the night sky.

An unusually dry winter across parts of the south of the European continent has reduced moisture in the soil and raised fears of a repeat of 2022, when 785,000 hectares were destroyed in Europe - more than double the annual average for the past 16 years, according to European Commission (EC) statistics.

Environment Minister Teresa Ribera said "out-of-season fires" were becoming increasingly common.