OLIVE PRESS TV: Check out our latest pictures and videos of the Estepona fire

POWER lines are complicating the work of firefighters trying to extinguish a wildfire raging in Estepona, officials have said.

The fire, which began yesterday at around 11:40am has already destroyed more than 290 hectares of land.

Three sets of electrical cables cross the site of the fire in the Peñas Blancas area, meaning that planes and helicopters are unable to drop water.

“We have been able to disconnect two and we are waiting for the third,” said Elias Bendodo, a Junta de Andalucia councillor, who is helping to coordinate response teams.

AIRBORNE: A plane carrying water returns from the sea and flies over Estepona towards the fire this morning (credit: Marion Franks)

He added: “While they are connected, helicopters should unload very carefully.”

Meanwhile police have arrested a French man, who tried to smoke out a hornet nest, and are treating him as the main suspect in connection with the wildfire.

Last night as many as 200 firefighters were involved in tackling the flames, while 150 are battling the blaze today, along with around 14 aerial vehicles.

It comes after the Government enacted ‘level 1’ of the provincial phase of the Emergency Plan for Forest Fires of the Autonomous Community at 5:00pm yesterday.

INFERNO: The fire in Estepona’s Peñas Blancas area, pictured last night

Police also evacuated people from their homes and at least 144 people spent the night in the El Carmen Sports Centre last night.

Hydroplanes have been spotted taking water from the sea at Playa de la Rada to the site of the blaze on the edge of the Sierra Bermeja park.

British holidaymaker Elaine Keogh said she had ‘never seen anything like this before’.

“My husband and I have been coming to Estepona for eight years and we have seen fires before, but nothing like this,” the teacher from Seven Sisters in London told the Olive Press.

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