7,700 hectares have been destroyed by the fire in the Sierra Bermeja mountain range in the province of Malaga during the last five days.
– We are facing the most complex fire the forest fire crews have seen in recent years, says Juan Sánchez, who heads the forest fire service in the region of Andalucía.
A firefighter has lost his life in connection with the extinguishing, and around 2,600 people have been evacuated so far. The area affected by the fire has doubled in the last two days.
On Monday, the fire crews got a little respite in the form of light rain. In addition, 51 firefighters release water over the burning terrain. 500 firefighters have been called in for the firefighting work and receive support from 260 soldiers, who were deployed on Sunday.
– The rain will not put out the fire, but where we have it under control, it will shorten the time it takes to put it out completely, says the regional fire chief Juan Sanchez. Elderly residents who were evacuated, clapped when it started to rain, show pictures from a local TV station.
Authorities describe the fire in Sierra Bermeja as Spain’s first “sixth generation” forest fire. This is a designation on so-called mega-fires caused by drought as a result of climate change, and they are difficult to combat. Relocation from the countryside and poorer forest management have also contributed to major fires, according to the authorities.
Regional authorities suspect that the fires that have ravaged the province of Malaga since Wednesday have been started.