Madrid - A major wildfire in eastern Spain that has destroyed vast swathes of land flared up again Friday despite heavy rainfall, threatening to spread to a nearby natural park, officials said.

So far this year, Spain has suffered nearly 400 wildfires following punishing heat waves and long dry spells that have devastated more than 283,000 hectares of land, more than three times the total area destroyed in 2021.

Over the past week, hundreds of firefighters have been battling two major wildfires raging out of control in the Valencia region, with a bout of heavy rainfall offered some respite, almost totally extinguishing the flames.

Although it put an end to the Vall d’Ebo fire near Benidorm, the Bejis blaze some 70 kilometres (45 miles) northwest of Valencia city flared up again and burning its way towards the Sierra Calderona natural park.

It has already destroyed 19,000 hectares (50,000 acres) of land. “The fire advanced slowly during the night except in... areas to the southeast where it has raged more aggressively,” the emergency services tweeted.

Fire officials said 40 aerial firefighting teams were trying to contain the blaze after what the UME military firefighters said had been an “intense night”. “It’s a very big fire with a perimeter stretching more than 120 kilometres,” Mariano Hernandez, one of the provincial fire chiefs, told public television.

Early on Friday, a lightning bolt set off another blaze near Olocau inside the Sierra Calderona park, with residents confined to their homes as a preventative measure, the emergency services said.

By midday, the flames appeared to have been quenched but firefighters had yet to declare it stabilised for fear it would flare up again, public television said.

The emergency services confirmed all aerial fire teams had left the area.