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Spanish man hailed as wildfire hero dies from burn injuries

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Oct 26, 2022 - 03:53 AM

OVIEDO, Spain (AA) – A Spanish man hailed as a hero for protecting his town from the flames of a wildfire in July has died, local authorities confirmed on Tuesday.

Angel Martin, a 53-year-old businessman living in the town of Tabara, was filmed using his tractor to build a firebreak to stop the massive wildfire threatening homes and a nearby gas station.

In the video that went viral, Martin was also filmed being engulfed in flames and then running out of the wildfire.

While he initially survived, around 80% of his body was burned. Three months later, he succumbed to his injuries.

Local politicians and community members shared their sorrow over his death.

“We will never forget the image of his fight and his commitment to his land,” said Socialist politician Ana Sanchez.

The massive fire in the province of Zamora, the deadliest in Spain this year, has now claimed four lives. A firefighter and a pastor were killed in the fire, while Martin and Eugenio Raton, a man injured while trying to save his 100-year-old father, died months later in hospital.

Spain saw a series of devastating wildfires during the hottest summer on record.

In Zamora, for instance, 6% of the entire land was scorched in flames.

Across the country, nearly 260,00 hectares (642,473 acres) have been burned in wildfires this year. That is more than three times the annual average of around 80,000 hectares (197,684 acres) in Spain.

With unseasonably warm temperatures continuing through October, around 15% of Spain is still at high or extreme risk for wildfires.

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