OFFICIALS have finally declared that the wildfire which raged in the hills above Marbella and Estepona on Spain’s Costa del Sol has been extinguished.
The blaze which broke out on June 8 in the Sierra Bermeja has ravaged 4,680 hectares of woodland and forced the evacuation of residents from their homes in Benahavis.
Areas within the municipalities of Benahavís, Estepona, Faraján, Igualeja, Jubrique, Júzcar and Pujerra suffered in the wildfire which was declared extinguished at 8pm on Sunday (June 27).
Andalucia’s official firefighting body, INFOCA said more than 3,300 firefighters tackled the blaze using 142 fire engines while water-carrying aircraft dropped 234 loads to douse the flames.
Three firefighters were injured during the first hours of the blaze, which broke out in in the grounds of Finca La Resinera, an estate once owned by Libyan dictator Colonel Gadaffi.
Investigators believe the wildfire was sparked by ‘negligent’ workers using heavy machinery on the grounds.
Four people were arrested and questioned over the outbreak but the Guardia Civil concluded the fire was not started on purpose
As the flames raged across the hillside, authorities took the decision to evacuate some 2,000 residents from their homes in and around Benahavis, Velerín Alto, Montemayor, Marbella Club and Benahavis Hills.
Residents were allowed to return home after two days and no buildings suffered damage.
A group campaign for Sierra Bermeja to be given National Park status in the hope that it would bring extra funds and resources to protect the zone against fires, have slammed the regional government for dragging their feet on the matter.
A petition calling for national park status has already received more than 77,000 signatures on change.org.
Another blaze raged across a nearby area in the Sierra Bermeja ravaging more than 8,000 hectares of precious pine forest.
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