MADRID, Spain (AP) -- Firefighters brought under control Saturday a blaze that charred more than 700 hectares (1,800 acres) of a nature reserve and forced the evacuation of nearly 7,000 people in eastern Spain, officials said.
The president of the Valencia regional government, Francisco Camps, said the fire near Sierra Calderona, a mountainous area, was apparently a case of arson.
``A delinquent may have tried to raze a nature park, but the firefighters worked exceptionally well. They are the best,'' Camps told reporters.
The people evacuated in Naquera and other villages have been allowed to return to their homes, officials said. Firefighters continue to work to put out the fire but it is no longer advancing toward the villages, they said.
In the first seven months of the year, forest fires killed four people and burned 86,000 hectares (215,000 acres) of land around Spain, the environmental protection department of the Civil Guard said Thursday.