June 28 (UPI) -- A wildfire burning in the Catalonia region of Spain has grown even larger, expanding to more than 16,000 acres, officials said Friday.
Miquel Buch, Catalan interior department head, said the wildfire's right flank is spreading after firefighters tried to bring it under control overnight Thursday. He said the left flank is now contained after a road essentially created a firewall.
Inspector Antonio Ramos said firefighters will try to reduce the intensity of the flames on the north side Friday. The fire had been marching toward Lleida after spreading through Vinebre, la Palma d'Ebre, Flix and Maials.
The Catalan regional government said 10,000 acres of forest and other vegetation near Tarragona have already been affected by the wildfire.
Firefighters called the blaze one of Catalonia's worst in the past 20 years and warned it could consume even more acres because of the terrain and hotter weather.
Temperatures have hovered 104 degrees in Catalonia this week. According to Britain's Met Office, temperatures around Lleida will not drop below 100 degrees until Tuesday. Forecasters predicted temperatures to top out at 109 degrees Saturday, 105 Sunday and 102 Monday.
The wildfire started in Torre de L'Espanyol, a municipality in the Catalan province of Tarragone, when manure spontaneously combusted on a farm. Buch said hot temperatures likely played a factor.
The intense heat and high winds made it more difficult to fight the flames.