ALTHOUGH it has been catastrophic, the wildfire which raged through the Sierra Bermeja fire for six days ravaging close to 10,000 hectares before it was brought under control, has by no means been the biggest fire in Spain’s recent history.
The blaze, which authorities believe was started deliberately on the evening of September 8 by arsonists, burnt through 9,670 hectares in the hills above Estepona and saw more than 3,000 people evacuated from their homes.
It tragically caused the death of one firefighter, 44-year-old Carlos Martinez Haro a father of two young daughters who was brought in from Almeria to join the 1,000 strong team battling the flames.
But the recent wildfire pales in comparison with what is considered the most devastating wildfire in the history of Spain, a blaze that ripped through the Minas de Riotinto area of Huelva and Berrocal (Sevilla) in the summer of 2004 destroying 29.867 hectares of land across 13 municipalities during which two people were killed.
The second worst fire in recent history broke out at a welding workshop on June 28, 2012 in Corte de Pallas (Valencia) devastating 28.879 hectares.
Thousands of people were affected by this tragedy and it caused high economic losses.
A blaze which started with a car explosion on a road in Cepada La Mora in the province of Avila, Castilla y Leon on August 14th this year, saw firefighters battle for eight days to bring flames under control by which time some 21,993 hectares had been destroyed.
Back in 2012, a wildfire in Valencia, in the municipality of Andilla saw some 20,064 hectares scorched.
That same year in Castrocontrigo in Leon province a further 11,592 hectares of land was destroyed.
In 2005, a fire scorched through the province of Guadalajara in Castile-La Mancha for five days in July destroying 10,352.57 hectares of woodland in which pines, Phoenician juniper and oak burnt to the ground.
These are followed in size by the 2017 fire in Encinedo (Leon) when 9,820 hectares were destroyed and 2015 in Quesada (Jaen) when 9,756 hectares burnt, a few more than the Sierra Bermeja fire.