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September 10, 2021
ESTEPONA, Spain (Reuters) – Unusually strong winds and high late-summer temperatures hindered efforts on Friday to tame a wildfire near a popular resort in southern Spain that has forced over 1,000 people out of their homes and killed an emergency worker.
Since erupting on Wednesday evening, the blaze has burned through around 3,600 hectares (8,896 acres) of forest in the mountainous Sierra Bermeja above Estepona, a Mediterranean resort favoured by British tourists and retirees.
A spokesperson for the regional fire brigade said authorities were planning to bring in two more planes and a Kamov helicopter to battle the wildfire, bringing the total aircraft deployed up to 69.
But the flames were unlikely to be brought under control until Saturday, he said.
“We are trying to establish a perimeter around the fire but it’s still active…The conditions of low humidity, strong winds and high temperatures are not favourable to controlling it.”
Regional environment chief Carmen Crespo said the blaze appeared to have been started deliberately and investigators were working to uncover more details.
Just over 1,000 people have been evacuated from four communities in Estepona and one in neighbouring Benahavis, and a 44-year old firefighter died on Thursday night.
(Reporting by Jon Nazca and Mariano Valladolid, writing by Nathan Allen, editing by Inti Landauro and Mark Heinrich)
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