Dozens evacuated in Costa del Sol wildfire sparked by Frenchman burning a beehive


File photo of a firefighter battling a forest fire in Spain. Photo: AFP

A wildfire which broke out in woodland near Estepoña on Monday forcing the evacuation of dozens of residents from their homes.

A team of 150 firefighters battled the blaze overnight and into Tuesday morning aided by ten water carrying aircraft in an attempt to stop it spreading to Los Reales in the Sierra Bermeja to the west and Barranco El Padrón and Forest Hill to the south.

Authorities said that 144 people had been forced to leave their homes as a preventative measure and spent the night in a sports centre in El Carmen, Estepona.

Police arrested a man – reportedly a Frenchman who was renting a property in Peñas Blancas – for allegedly starting the fire, which has already destroyed 85 hectares of scrub and woodland.

Local media reports said he had attempted to smoke out a bee hive or wasps nest but it sparked a fire which quickly got out of control and soon spread. He is facing charges for “recklessness”. 

Smoke from the blaze was visible across the Costa del Sol region from Malaga to Gibraltar.

The blaze on the Costa del Sol rages as another much larger wildfire destroyed woodland in a natural park on the Spanish Canary Island of Gran Canaria. 

Authorities said the Gran Canaria fire had abated by Tuesday morning as winds dropped, but not before more than 6,000 hectares had been destroyed.