HUNDREDS of terrified residents were forced to leave their homes in the middle of the night by authorities as a wildfire raged across the hills above Benahavis on Spain’s Costa del Sol.
The blaze which broke out in the Pujerra area of the Sierra Bermeja on Wednesday afternoon has so far led to between 2,500 and 3,000 people being evacuated from the homes for fear of the encroaching flames and smoke inhalation.
One resident, British expat Natalie Guyan, described how Guardia Civil informed them of the need to evacuate.
Natalie Guyan, 42, originally from London, but now living in Benahavis, said: “At 11pm (on Wednesday) we were told to abandon our house,” she told the Olive Press.
“People were panicking and rushing to leave Benahavis, it was crazy,” she added.
Police at the scene directed Natalie to a sports center in nearby San Pedro which had been set up as an emergency shelter.
Instead Natalie and her husband and two young children checked into a hotel in Marbella.
She insisted that although she is trying to remain outwardly calm so as not to upset her children, she fears people could lose their homes or even their lives.
“We’ve heard that there is someone left behind in their home because they don’t have a car,” she said.
“The town hall must be one of the richest in the area but they spend all the money on golf courses,” she added. “There are no provisions for something like this which happens every year.”
- IN IMAGES: Smoke engulfs homes as 3,000 residents evacuated in Pujerra wildfire in hills above Spain’s Costa del Sol
- Military called in to help fight Pujerra forest fire in Spain’s Malaga—which has already seen three forest firefighters injured
- FIRE UPDATE: Hundreds face evacuation as Costa del Sol fire starts to take hold in nightmare 40kph winds