Strong winds, high temperatures fuel wildfire near Spanish resort

Wildfire on Sierra Bermeja mountain
Wildfire on the Sierra Bermeja Mountains
Firefighters are seen taking off from Parauta before creating a drop of water over a forest fire on the Sierra Bermeja Mountains in Estepona, Spain, on September 10, 2021.

September 10, 2021

ESTEPONA, Spain (Reuters) – Unusually strong winds and high late-summer temperatures on Friday hampered efforts to extinguish a wildfire near a popular resort in southern Spain that killed more than 1,000 people in their homes. Turned out and killed an emergency worker.

Since erupting on Wednesday evening, nearly 3,600 hectares (8,896 acres) of forest fires have burned in the mountainous Sierra Bermeja above Estepona, a Mediterranean resort favorite of British tourists and retirees.

A spokesman for the regional fire department said officials are planning to bring in two more planes and a Kamov helicopter to fight the wildfires, bringing a total of 69 aircraft to the station.

But the fire was unlikely to be brought under control by Saturday, he said.

“We are trying to set up a perimeter around the fire but it is still active… the conditions of low humidity, strong winds and high temperatures are not conducive to controlling it.”

Regional Environment Chief Carmen Crespo said the fire appeared to have been started intentionally and investigators were working to uncover more details.

More than 1,000 people have been evacuated from four communities in Estepona and one in neighboring Benavis, and a 44-year-old firefighter died on Thursday night.

(Reporting by John Nazca and Mariano Valladolid, Writing by Nathan Allen, Editing by Inti Landouro and Mark Heinrich)

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