A former London police officer described the “war zone-like” scene in the Hollywood movie after being told to return to his home in southern Spain to save his belongings from a large wildfire.
Mark Pringle was in Estepona, a resort town, with his wife Jenny on Sunday afternoon. I was warned that it would only take a few hours to clear up my house and evacuate as a flame broke into a mountain village in Malaga.
The couple hurried back to their home about 40 miles away to save the three dogs and clean up their belongings. As I approached Júzcar, called the “Smurf Village” in the blue house, I saw a devastating fire swallowing the mountain.
“It was like a descent to hell,” Pringle said. Me.. “Driving it was like a war zone, it reminded me of the movie I grew up with, like Apocalypse Now All helicopters passed and smoke came out.
“The sky is a strange color. This terrifying black, brown and dark red smoke swirls across the road, almost extinguishing the sky.
“I’m a former London police officer. I’m used to very difficult situations, but the bloody hell was a hyperrealistic sight.”
Pringle was among the 2,500 people forced to evacuate the popular tourist destination of Malaga after a wildfire that began on Wednesday struck the western Costa del Sol mountain range of Sierra Meja.
The 56-year-old was worried that she would lose her wooden house and lose her livelihood.
“God, I thought this might literally be the last time we saw the place,” he said.
“I was packing pictures and things of old children, irreplaceable things, and you think this might be all the mundane goods we got.”
The couple picked up their 16-year-old daughter from the airport, who was staying with her family in London on Sunday night, and the family stayed at a coastal villa, hoping that the fire to the village would change.
On Monday night they were given OK to go home. No damage due to their relief, and early Tuesday morning rains helped control large wildfires.
The flame devastated 7,800 hectares (19,200 acres) of land in southern Spain, with more than five days of intense land and air fire extinguishing. A 44-year-old firefighter was killed on Thursday while fighting fire.
Officials believe the arson is behind fires that began late Wednesday at various hotspots, and environmentalists say they have a unique ecosystem. The Spanish Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation.
According to Pringle, temperatures in the region have exceeded 40 degrees Celsius in recent weeks, with little rain for months.
“Even when we put out the fire from things, it was overwhelmingly hot, so we wanted it to rain,” he said.
“Fires sometimes occur because incredible people smoke cigarettes out of their cars.
“I’ve seen a small fire, but I’ve never seen one this big. It just kept growing.
“There was no meaningful rain for months, you think this is now completely out of our control, it was scary.”