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WILDFIRES

Dozens evacuated in Costa del Sol wildfire sparked by Frenchman burning a beehive

A wildfire which broke out in woodland near Estepoña on Monday forcing the evacuation of dozens of residents from their homes.

Dozens evacuated in Costa del Sol wildfire sparked by Frenchman burning a beehive
File photo of a firefighter battling a forest fire in Spain. Photo: AFP

A team of 150 firefighters battled the blaze overnight and into Tuesday morning aided by ten water carrying aircraft in an attempt to stop it spreading to Los Reales in the Sierra Bermeja to the west and Barranco El Padrón and Forest Hill to the south.

Authorities said that 144 people had been forced to leave their homes as a preventative measure and spent the night in a sports centre in El Carmen, Estepona.

Police arrested a man – reportedly a Frenchman who was renting a property in Peñas Blancas – for allegedly starting the fire, which has already destroyed 85 hectares of scrub and woodland.

Local media reports said he had attempted to smoke out a bee hive or wasps nest but it sparked a fire which quickly got out of control and soon spread. He is facing charges for “recklessness”. 

Smoke from the blaze was visible across the Costa del Sol region from Malaga to Gibraltar.

The blaze on the Costa del Sol rages as another much larger wildfire destroyed woodland in a natural park on the Spanish Canary Island of Gran Canaria. 

Authorities said the Gran Canaria fire had abated by Tuesday morning as winds dropped, but not before more than 6,000 hectares had been destroyed.

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WEATHER

Firefighters urge public to avoid Madrid bathing spot after blaze

People have been asked to stay away from the popular San Juan reservoir after a wildfire broke out nearby on Saturday afternoon.

Firefighters urge public to avoid Madrid bathing spot after blaze
Firefighters battle the blaze that broke out near the San Juan reservoir near Madrid on Saturday, July 31st, 2021. (Photo from 112 Comunidad Madrid)

Firefighters said Sunday they had managed to stabilise the blaze overnight but local authorities urged people to stay away from the reservoir, a popular bathing spot for residents of the Spanish capital.

Dozens of firefighters backed by water-dropping aircraft have been battling the wildfire that broke out on Saturday afternoon near the reservoir, which is about 70 kilometres (40 miles) east of Madrid.

The fire started in the nudist beach area, but strong winds caused it to spread rapidly, Spanish daily El Mundo reported.

The cause of the fire, which scorched an area of 50 hectares, remained unknown, but the Madrid area emergency services said in a tweet that forest rangers had started investigations.

The rangers also confirmed that the vegetation damaged was scrubland and some stone pine trees.

In Italy, meanwhile, more than 800 flare-ups were recorded this weekend, mainly in the south, according to Italy’s fire brigade, as fires continued to rage across parts of southern Europe.

Fires have also been ravaging other parts of southern Europe, including Greece and tourist hotspots in southern Turkey, where wildfires have claimed eight lives.

Fanned by soaring temperatures, strong winds and climate change — which experts say increases both the frequency and intensity of such blazes — this year’s fire season has been significantly more destructive than the previous average, EU data shows.

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