British expat dies as wildfire hits Spanish resorts

 

A 78-year-old British man burned to death, and hundreds of British expats were evacuated from residences and holiday homes in southern Spain yesterday as fire swept through the southern half of the province of Málaga.

The body of the British man, who has not yet been named, was found underneath the charred remains of an agricultural toolshed in the village of Ojén, which police had previously evacuated as the flames grew closer. There were also reports that his wife was missing.

By early evening yesterday, up to 1,500 square hectares of scrub and woodland had been destroyed, with the worst of the flames sweeping northwards towards the village of Ojén. Four other villages and towns in the Andalusian region, including the coastal resort of Marbella, have been affected and around 5,000 residents evacuated from the area.

"I've seen flames of up to 30m high and various houses up in flames between Alhaurín and Coín," Angel Nozal, the mayor of Mijas, said.

Apart from the British man, another badly injured man has been taken to hospital in Seville, whilst a women and her two children who took refuge in a cave in Ojén needed treatment for oxygen deprivation. A further five with unspecified injures were taken to Marbella hospital. The province's beaches and picturesque "white villages" are a popular holiday destination, and although many Spaniards will have already returned from their summer holidays, the province is a favourite residential area for many of the one million Britons estimated to live in Spain.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We estimate that several hundred Britons have been evacuated, including some 300 who have been relocated to evacuation centres in the La Cala de Mijas and Calahonda areas."

Rosemary and Terry Kemp were evacuated from the apartment they own in Elviria, near Marbella, in the early hours of yesterday morning, before being allowed home later in the day. "We could hear this terrific roar, which was quite frightening because although we seemed to be quite a distance from the fire… there was ash getting into the house," Mrs Kemp told The Independent. "We left the house when they told us to evacuate – there were around 200 or 300 people milling around. There were places provided for people. All night we could hear the sirens. It was quite chaotic and it was raining ash."

Some accounts say the wildfires started at around 7pm on Thursday some 25km inland of the popular resort of Fuengirola. Regional Interior Ministry official José Luís Ruiz Espejo told the Associated Press the latest fire started outside the mountain town of Coí*, north-east of Marbella, and that the authorities suspected arson.

Whatever the original cause, the exceptionally hot summer, prolonged drought in the region and the mountainous terrain helped the fire spread.

More than 400 fire fighters were brought in to help tackle the blaze. In Marbella, where up to 1,000 people were told to leave a housing estate above the town on Thursday, the local hospital continued to function. The region's main inland toll road was closed for several hours, but the A-7, closer to the coastline, remained open.

This year has seen a high number of forest fires in mainland Spain, with three people killed by a blaze in the Catalan city of Gerona in late July. More fires have broken out in Castille, Zaragoza, mountains west of Madrid and Almería in the last 10 days.

News
Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
News
i100
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Sport
Tony Bellew (left) and Nathan Cleverly clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool
boxingLate surge sees Liverpudlian move into world title contention
Voices
Neil Findlay
voicesThe vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
food + drinkMeat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin