OVERNIGHT rain has brought much-needed respite to the firefighters and army working to quench the flames in a major wildfire that has burned close to 10,000 hectares of forest in the hills above the Costa del Sol.

Regional authorities say that flames fanned by high temperatures and strong winds had burned everything within a perimeter of 83 kilometres since it started on Wednesday evening.

The president of the Junta de Andalucia Juanma Moreno announced that the Sierra Bermeja fire had been brought under control by Tuesday morning, 14 September.

He tweeted the good news at 7am shortly after being informed by the Infoca firefighting brigade.

He wrote: “The rain that has been falling for hours has been the best ally of the intense and admirable work of the emergency workers.

“Level 0 is activated. Now there is a complex phase until its extinction.”

It comes after residents from five of the six villages evacuated on Sunday – Jubrique, Júzcar, Pujerra, Faraján and Alpandeire – were allowed to go home on Monday evening.

One firefighter has been killed in the fire, which authorities believe was started deliberately.

The blaze, which raged for almost a week after starting last Wednesday on high ground above the popular resort town of Estepona, was labelled as one of the ‘most complex’ fires Spain has ever seen and the worst in the Malaga region for 30 years.

The size and complexity of the blaze prompted the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) to include it in its alarming list of ‘super fires’ also known as sixth generation fires, highly destructive fires which are becoming more and more widespread due to global warming.

The 1,000 firefighters and emergency workers who have battled tirelessly against the wildfire have been praised as ‘heroes’ who work ‘without respite’ in a very ‘complicated, difficult and unprecedented fire.’

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