Thousands have been evacuated and troops have been deployed in southeastern Spain to fight wildfires that have burned for four consecutive days.
Approximately 2,500 people have been evacuated from the state of Malaga, where the Costa del Sol tourist hotspot is located, and the flames have destroyed nearly 7,000 hectares of forest.
On Sunday, nearly 1,500 residents fled Jubrique, Genalguacil and four other villages. This was after more than 1,000 people had evacuated from the resort town of Estepona.
The wildfire originally erupted on Wednesday in the mountainous Sierra Vermeha above Estepona, which is popular with British tourists and retirees.
An emergency brigade moved from Moron’s military base, with more than 300 firefighters and 41 water-dropping aircraft fighting the fire.
A 44-year-old firefighter died Thursday while fighting a wildfire.
The combination of high temperature, dry temperature and strong wind created the optimum conditions for fire.
Wildfires are common in Southern Europe during the scorching summer, but this year is especially common in the Mediterranean region.
In the first eight months of this year, more than 75,000 hectares of forests and shrublands have been burned down in Spain, according to the Ministry of Environmental Transition of Spain.
Authorities said they were investigating the evidence of the arson.
Climate scientists believe that climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels increases the likelihood of extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts and wildfires.
Additional reporting via Associated Press