800 people evacuated as wildfire rips through Spain’s Malaga province

800 people evacuated as wildfire rips through Spain's Malaga province
People in Benahavis look at smoke columns rising from a wildfire in Sierra Bermeja mountain range in Malaga province, on September 9, 2021. - Almost a thousand people had to be evacuated preventively from their homes due to a forest fire in southern Spain, which firefighters continue to fight today, authorities reported. (Photo by JORGE GUERRERO / AFP)
Firefighters hampered by strong winds were battling to contain a wildfire in Spain's Costa del Sol on Thursday September 9th which forced the evacuation of 800 people, officials said.

About 250 firefighters backed by 26 water-dropping aircraft were battling the blaze which broke out late on Wednesday in the Sierra Bermeja mountains in the southern province of Malaga, the regional government of Andalusia said in a statement.

Emergency services said some 800 people were evacuated from their homes as a precaution, mainly from the municipality of Estepona, an area popular with British retirees and holidaymakers.

A helicopter is pictured from Benahavis as it overflies a wildfire in Sierra Bermeja mountain range in Malaga province.

Several told Spanish public television TVE they were given only minutes to leave by police.

Firefighters said strong winds, with gusts of up to 60kmh, dry conditions and the steep mountain slopes were making it difficult to put out the flames.

Smoke columns seen from Benahavis as they rise from a wildfire in Sierra Bermeja mountain range.

“Winds are getting stronger but luckily even though they are getting stronger, which will complicate the fire, they are coming from the west which moves the fire away from built-up areas,” the head of the Malaga firefighter division, Mr Manuel Marmolejo, told reporters.

Local officials suspect the blaze may have been deliberately started, as it broke out in several places at around the same time.


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