A forest fire that started in abnormally hot temperatures has burned through through more than 500 hectares (1,235 acres) of land in eastern Spain and forced 180 people to flee their homes, officials said Monday.

The fire began on Sunday near Tarbena in the Valencia region as temperatures reached 30 degrees Celcius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), which is unusually high for the season.

Heat, wind and low humidity fuelled the blaze which media reports said may have started with an agricultural fire.

"The fire is still active" after a "complicated" night for firefighters, the region's emergency services wrote on X, the former Twitter, saying the blaze had destroyed "more than 500 hectares (1,235 acres)" of land.

"Around 180 people have been evacuated" from the two worst-hit areas, Pilar Bernabe, the central government representative in Valencia, told public television.

Eight air units battled the blaze alongside firefighters and troops from the UME military emergency unit which is called in to help with larger fires.

According to the AEMET national weather service, temperatures rose above 30C in more than 65 areas across Spain on Saturday, including places as far north as the Pyrenees, Galicia and the Castilla y Leon region.

Tarbena is about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the coast, near the coastal resort of Benidorm.

In 2022, some 500 wildfires destroyed huge more than 300,000 hectares of land in Spain, a record in Europe, according to the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS).