THE Sierra Bermeja is set to be classified as a disaster zone after 9,670 hectares of land was destroyed in the ferocious wildfire.

The blaze, which authorities believe was started deliberately by arsonists, injured hundreds of animals, caused the death of a firefighter and saw more than 3,000 people evacuated from their homes.

The president of the Junta, Juanma Moreno, revealed that the regional government had made a formal request for this status so that the area and those affected could receive financial assistance.

“We are going to take advantage of all types of aid that we have at our disposal, both national and European, to help all those who have been seriously affected,” said Moreno, who stressed that an emergency plan is already in motion.

Meanwhile, the president has called for harsher punishments for individuals that ‘set fire to our forests’ which he said must be ‘a lot more severe than they have been thus far’.

Moreno insisted that ‘all indications’ had pointed towards the fire being an intentional act.

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