© Remy Gabalda/AFP/Getty Images
Firemen try to extinguish fire close to Figueres in northern Spain.
High winds fan flames and hamper firefighters' efforts in the Costa Brava tourist haven close to the French border

Three people have died after forest fires broke out in Girona province, north-east Spain.

The area in Catalonia is close to the French border and home to one of the most popular beach destinations in Spain, the Costa Brava.

Strong winds hindered firefighters' efforts on Sunday and have so far spread two fires over 13,000 hectares (22,000 acres).

A man and his 15-year-old daughter were killed after jumping off a cliff to escape the flames, while a third person died of a heart attack. El País newspaper said 19 people had been injured.

About 80km (50 miles) of roads have been cut off in the area, a big artery for holidaymakers making their way to and from southern France in the coastal province. Residents were being told to stay at home, while the winds were pushing the fires towards Figueres, a town of around 50,000 people.

© AFP, Lluis Gene
A traffic jam is seen as a wildfire destroys the forest in Ller near La Junquera, close to the Spanish-French border
Train services in the region were suspended and several cross-border roads linking Barcelona with France were closed because of the advancing flames, a regional government spokesman, Felip Puig, said on Sunday.

Santiago Villa, the mayor of Figueres, which houses the Salvador Dalí museum, said he had ordered the 44,000 residents to stay indoors until further notice.

The fire service said in a statement that more than 80 teams had been deployed to combat the wildfires, which appear to have started close to the border with France.

The interior ministry said it had sent three specially equipped aircraft and an emergency unit from Zaragoza to aid Catalan firefighters.

State broadcaster TVE said in a late news bulletin that high winds were making it difficult for firefighting aircraft to work at their full potential.

Eight of the injured were in serious condition, TVE said.


A wildfire approaches trucks in La Jonquera on July 22, 2012. The blaze broke out just after noon on Sunday near the town of La Jonquera close to the the border with France and has killed three people and ravaged 12,000 hectares (30,000 acres) of land.