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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower