About 2,000 people backed up by 41 aircraft are battling the forest fires that for the past three days have been decimating a large section of eastern Spain, officials with the regional government of Valencia said.

The fires, which are concentrated in two main areas in the interior of the provinces of Valencia and Castellon, have destroyed thousands of hectares (acres) of vegetation and have forced authorities to evacuate hundreds of local residents.

Given the magnitude of the blazes, Defense Minister Pedro Morenes and Agriculture and Environment Minister Miguel Arias Cañete traveled to the affected area to examine the damage and the firefighting efforts firsthand.

Arias Cañete said that until the fires are controlled it will be "very difficult" to determine the number of hectares that have been destroyed, but he added that just one of the fires has a perimeter of more than 150 kilometers (93 miles).

The minister said that with regard to the two main blazes the weather has been "more adverse than can be imagined, with very low humidity and wind velocities that have reached 70 kilometers (43 miles) per hour and have made extinguishing (them) very difficult."

On Sunday, another fire was registered which is affecting 8,000 hectares (about 20,000 acres) in the neighboring provinces of Albacete and Murcia.

These big fires are raging in one of Spain's main tourist regions, a zone which is the destination of thousands of Spaniards and foreigners each year. EFE