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Three months after battling flames, a Spanish hero dies

Three months after he was severely burned while digging a tunnel to prevent a wildfire from approaching his community, a Spanish man has died, his friends reported on Tuesday.

On July 18, Angel Martin Arjona, 50, the owner of a construction warehouse in Tabara, was seen running through a field with his clothes on fire after abandoning his digger, which had become engulfed in flames.

Jose Manuel Taba, a close friend, confirmed his passing on Monday, saying that he had been hospitalized in Valladolid, central Spain.

Arjona’s childhood friend and mechanic Juan Lozano said, “The skin grafts were successful but unfortunately there were complications.”

In July, he had been heralded as a hero by the community, and now, according to Lozano, three days of mourning have been declared in his honor. The fire broke out on July 17 in Losacio, a town in the province of Zamora in the country’s northwest.

Spanish hero die
Spanish hero die

Some 26,000 acres were lost, making it one of the largest fires in Spain that year. Arjona was one of the four fatalities.

Since climate change is causing an increase in the frequency and severity of heat waves, it is making fires worse. A lack of workers in rural areas of Spain, who are needed to clear vegetation, compounds the problem caused by hotter weather causing vegetation to lose moisture and turn into dry fuel. Read more: There Have Been at Least 24 Deaths in Bangladesh Due to the Tropical Cyclone

According to official statistics, wildfires in Spain have destroyed 260,000 hectares (642,500 acres) so far this year, making this the worst year for wildfires in almost 30 years.

According to data from the European Union’s Joint Research Centre, wildfires across Europe have burned 775,941 hectares this year, the second-largest area on record. Read more: Nm Scientists Study 2020’s Bird Die-off to Avert Recurrence

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