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Wildfires continue to burn in Spain during the first days of spring as unseasonably hot and dry weather persists in much of the country.

The first major wildfire of the year broke out last Thursday on the border of Valencia and Aragon and has consumed 1,700 hectares (42,00 acres).

While the blaze had largely come under control Wednesday, around 1,400 residents are still being kept from their homes.

The weather late Tuesday night and Wednesday helped firefighters begin to win the battle but rising temperatures and strong winds are in the forecast for Thursday.

Meanwhile, a new batch of fires broke out Wednesday, most significantly in northern Spain, where strong southern winds brought temperatures up to around 30 C (86 F).

In the northern region of Asturias, 61 wildfires had broken out by late Wednesday. Three are worrying, according to media reports, and one has forced residents of a small village to flee their homes.

In neighboring Galicia, a wildfire has forced 30 residents from two small towns to evacuate. Those flames are threatening an ancient forest and a special conservation zone.

Spain has been in an official drought for more than a year.

The country’s meteorology agency, AEMET, said this winter was hotter than usual -- for the fifth year in a row -- and it predicted an unusually warm spring and summer.

Last weekend, an agricultural town near Barcelona organized a special church service to pray for rain. The last time that tradition was used was in 2008, and then 60 years before that.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez railed against climate change denialism earlier this week while visiting the wildfire area in Valencia.