Spain: British tourists among thousands evacuated due to raging wildfire

British tourists among thousands evacuated in Spain due to raging forest fires

Three firefighters were injured fighting the blaze (Image: EPA/Solarpix)

Thousands of people, including British tourists, were forced to flee a town on Spain’s Costa del Sol as wildfire raged through the nearby hills.

Spanish authorities deployed nearly 1,000 firefighters, military personnel and relief teams Thursday to battle the wildfire in the arid, hilly area of ​​Andalusia.

The town of Benahavis, some 10 miles north of Marbella, was evacuated amid fears the area could be overwhelmed by the fast-spreading fire, fanned by 40mph winds.

British tourists are believed to be among the 2,000 people who have been evacuated from various locations in Malaga, with some being placed in emergency shelters in nearby San Pedro de Alcantara.

Police closed Benahavis’ only road to the coast late Wednesday night and drove around with loudspeakers ordering people out of their homes and hotels with only essentials.

The fire is said to have broken out on Wednesday at a 16-hectare estate once owned by Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi.

Three firefighters were injured fighting the blazes in windy conditions, one of whom is said to have suffered severe burns.

Andalusian forest firefighting service Infoca said yesterday the fire burned 2,150 hectares (5,000 acres) of mountainous terrain.

epa10004332 Flames destroy the Resinera landscape during the forest fire that broke out June 08 in the Sierra Bermeja mountains in Malaga, southern Spain, June 09, 2022. The fire has engulfed more than 2,000 acres and about 946 employees are involved in extinguishing, safety and coordinating efforts. EPA/Daniel Perez

The wildfire broke out on Wednesday and has engulfed more than 2,000 hectares (Image: EPA)

epa10003766 People evacuate the village of Benahavis in southern Spain, June 8, 2022 (issued June 9, 2022). The Military Emergency Unit (UME) was deployed and authorities raised the alert level as an ongoing wildfire ravaged the Malaga area, forcing the evacuation of around 60 people. EPA/Antonio Paz

People had to evacuate Benahavis with only essential belongings (Image: EPA)

Firefighters have been scrambling to get the blaze under control amid warnings Spain could be on the brink of a heatwave.

The Spanish weather service AEMET forecasts that temperatures will rise well above 30 °C at the weekend.

According to Infoca and the regional government of Andalusia, crews tried to take advantage of lower temperatures and wetter conditions on Wednesday night, which helped the flames calm down.

Seven water-dropping helicopters and a coordination plane stood by.

epa10004212 A seaplane pours water into the forest fire that broke out on June 08 in Sierra Bermeja, Malaga, Spain, 09 June 2022. Military Emergency Units (UME) have been deployed and authorities are raising the alert level as an ongoing forest fire rages around Malaga, forcing mass evacuations. The fire has destroyed more than 2,000 hectares. EPA/DANIEL PEREZ

Firefighters and the Spanish military have been trying to get the blaze under control before a heat wave hits (Image: EPA)

TOPSHOT - Smoke from a wildfire in the Sierra Bermeja mountain range in Malaga is pictured from Benahavis on June 9, 2022. - Around 2,000 people were evacuated overnight as a fire raged through a wooded area in southern Spain, in an area badly hit by wildfires just nine months ago, rescuers said today. (Photo by JORGE GUERRERO/AFP) (Photo by JORGE GUERRERO/AFP via Getty Images)

Huge plumes of smoke fill the air around Benahavis (Image: Jorge Guerrero/ AFP)

Spain’s Emergency Military Unit, tasked with assisting civilian forces in major incidents, deployed 233 personnel and more than 80 vehicles to the area, authorities said.

Spain’s worst wildfire devastated the same rugged area inland from the coastal city of Marbella last year.

Almost 10,000 hectares (24,000 acres) burned before the fire was finally extinguished after 46 days. A firefighter died in the fire.

Scientists say global warming is making events like wildfires and extreme storms more common.

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Justin Scacco

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