Thousands evacuated, three injured as wildfire rages in Spain | Environment News

Temperatures of more than 30C (86F), drought and strong winds hamper firefighting efforts in mountains of southern Spain.

A wildfire in mountains of southern Spain has forced the evacuation of more than 3,000 people from the centre of the town of Benahavis and injured three firefighters.

The blaze started on Wednesday afternoon on the slopes of Pujerra mountain in the Sierra Bermeja, above the Costa del Sol, a magnet for tourists on the Andalusia coast, Andalusia’s Wildfire Department (INFOCA) said on Twitter.

The 8,000-resident community of Benahavis and 300-resident village of Pujerra, west of Malaga, were most at risk, state broadcaster RTVE reported, citing regional politicians and fire brigade spokespersons.

“Sadly, we have to report that three firefighters from INFOCA suffered burns of different kinds and one of them has 25 percent of his body burned and was evacuated to Malaga hospital,” Andalusia’s regional president Juan Manuel Moreno told reporters.

Temperatures of more than 30C (86F), drought and strong winds continued to hamper firefighting efforts in the area on Thursday, RTVE said.

A forest fire is seen on a mountain in Benahavis
A forest fire is seen on a mountain in Benahavis [Jon Nazca/Reuters]

However, the situation was expected to improve during the course of the day as winds drop.

About 500 members of the fire brigade, civil defence and the UME military emergency unit were deployed, the Andalusia emergency services tweeted. No buildings have been affected, according to officials.

The affected area on the Sierra Bermeja mountain range was devastated by a six-day wildfire last September that destroyed more than 9,000 hectares (35 square miles) of forest.

Back then, the authorities believed the fire was started the work of arsonists. However, the perpetrators could not be identified.

The residents of Sierra Bermeja have experienced “another difficult night”, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez wrote on Twitter. He expressed his solidarity with those affected.

People watch as smoke billows, as a forest fire breaks out in Pujerra,
People watch billowing smoke as a forest fire breaks out in Pujerra [Jon Nazca/Reuters]

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