Malaga wildfire forces more than 1,000 people from their homes

Blaze in Andalusian region popular with UK holidaymakers is now in its fifth day

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A Spanish wildfire fanned by strong winds and high temperatures has driven more than 1,000 people from their homes and killed one emergency worker since erupting on Wednesday.

It comes a month after a similarly devastating conflagration in Portugal burnt at least 9,000 hectares of forests, orchards and bushland.

Two more Andalusian towns were evacuated on Sunday morning as Spain sent in military backup to douse the flames, which continued to rage close to a Costa del Sol resort in the Sierra Bermeja above Estepona, which is favoured by British tourists and retirees.

“We will work in co-ordination and without rest in the face of the fire that is devastating the province of Malaga,” said Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Twitter. He announced the deployment of the Military Emergency Unit to help firefighters tackle the blaze.

Andalusia's regional forest fire agency said on Sunday that 365 firefighters, supported by 41 aircraft and 25 vehicles, were currently working to put out the fire.

“Ground firefighters are working intensively in harsh conditions trying to stop the advancing flames,” it said on Twitter, where it shared footage of firefighters trying to control flames raging across dry and hilly terrain.

Andalusia's regional government announced on Sunday that emergency services had ordered the “preventive evacuation” of the towns of Jubrique, with population of more than 500, and Genalguacil, population, with around 400, where residents on Saturday had been confined to their homes because of the low-lying smoke in the area.

“The evacuation is taking place with maximum security measures and before a possible unfavourable evolution of the fire in that area,” the regional government said in a statement.

Evacuees will be housed in a sports centre in the nearby town of Ronda.

Regional environment chief Carmen Crespo has said the blaze appeared to have been started deliberately and investigators were working to uncover more details.

Updated: September 12, 2021, 2:34 PM