An uncontrolled fire has burned 10,000 hectares (about 25,000 acres), most of it covered in pine trees, in the northern Spanish province of Leon, authorities said Tuesday.

The regional government of Castile and Leon called the fire, which began last Sunday, a "catastrophe," although officials ruled out any danger to populated areas.

Nevertheless, the towns in the affected area have a common look to them - vacant streets and firmly shut-up houses - given that many of the local residents have opted to abandon their homes due to the fire threat.

Some of the locals, however, have taken the initiative and joined the efforts to extinguish the blaze, and they have gone out to the edges of their towns to help fight the approaching fire - which the regional government says was set intentionally - by various means.

More than 400 members of the Military Emergencies Unit and 300 civilian firefighters, as well as about 20 aircraft - helicopters and cistern planes - are being used to try and bring the fire under control.

Regional government President Juan Vicente Herrera on Tuesday lamented the fact that the fire is spreading through a "privileged natural zone" and he issued a call to the public to report negligent or criminal behavior, which is the cause of more than 90 percent of all forest fires. EFE