THE last of the residents forced to flee the Sierra Bermeja have been given the all-clear to return homes after fire crews made progress against a massive wildfire.

The dramatic blaze left thousands without homes when they were evacuated as a precaution when the Sierra Bermeja fire devoured more than 10,00 hectares of land. 

Some 2,000 residents from the mountains above Estepona, a popular holiday destination on the Costa del Sol, fled after the blaze broke out on 8 September.

But now 250 residents from Genalguacil have been authorised to return to their homes as the fire came under control following heavy rainfall. 

The threat from the Sierra Bermeja hasn’t entirely vanished, but downgrading to a warning meant those who wish to could return to their homes in what had been a smoke-choked ghost for the last week. 

They are the last of the evacuated residents to return home. 

Late on Monday, the residents of Jubrique, Faraján, Júzcar, Alpandeire and Pujerra were allowed to return, after being evacuated on Sunday due to the advance of the flames. Therefore,

The last three roads that were still closed to traffic due to blaze have also reopened after Infoca declared the fire under control at dawn on Tuesday morning. They are the MA-8301, MA-8302 and MA-8304 roads.

The rest of the affected roads were opened to traffic on Monday.

It comes as findings show clear indications that the Sierra Bermeja fire was intentional.

Following the advance of the Prosecutor’s Office reports, Junta chief Juanma Moreno has called for Spain’s Penal Code to be modified and tougher penalties applied to ‘those who cause these fires.’

“These people have to pay. What has happened requires reflection given that there are more and more intentional fires,” he said.

“Due to the choice of the rugged area and for it having been started at night, knowing that strong winds would blow from the east during the following days. It has been done with very bad intentions and with the intention of doing as much damage as possible” Moreno added.

Furthermore, Moreno highlighted that the costs in economic, social and human life terms are ‘very expensive’ and confirmed his intention to propose a parliamentary initiative to reform the Penal Code.

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