One of the fronts, before dawn on Friday. Miguel Ángel Pineda (sur.es)
Those who were directly affected by it will never forget the night that fire raged along the Costa del Sol. In the aftermath, SUR_in English talked to some of them about their experience.
"I just have to think that we are all safe"
Thursday 30th August is a date that Entrerríos resident Sandra Russo tells SUR in English she would "love to forget," for on that night her home was one of several in the Mijas area that was razed to the ground by the worst wildfires on the Costa del Sol in a generation.
Sandra, her husband, and their five year old daughter, were forced to flee their house as the flames began to lick the property's garden.
"It was absolutely terrifying seeing what was happening. The fire was spreading so fast that we didn't get evacuated by the emergency crews - it all happened too quickly for that in our area," Sandra says.
"We grabbed what we could, including our dogs, cat, laptop, purse, some photos and our passports and fled. I took my daughter in one car and my husband was in another. He did try and rush back in to collect more things but by that stage the flames were engulfing our home.
"We literally only have left what we were able to escape with. All our other possessions, such as our clothes, furniture, fridge-freezer, and brand new washing machine, were all destroyed."
Now staying with relatives in Mijas Pueblo, Sandra tells this newspaper how she and her family have been touched by the generosity of others, following the blaze.
"Friends and family have been extremely generous and supportive, offering us clothes, food, and even money."
She adds: "I can't think about all that we have lost, I have to think that we're all safe, otherwise I will go crazy."
Sue and Martin Wilson
"Our fun night out turned to panic"
As they met friends in Fuengirola for pre-dinner drinks, last Thursday evening began as Sue and Martin Wilton, who live in Calahonda, had planned.
But the couple's fun night out soon turned into one of "panic and dread" as the fires threatened to destroy their home.
"We'd heard from the taxi driver who took us to Fuengirola that there was a fire somewhere near Coín, but we didn't think much of it, to be honest," explains Sue, a retired secretary, who moved to the Costa del Sol from Bournemouth in 2001.
"We spoke about it briefly on the journey amongst ourselves and then with our friends who we met for some drinks in the main square as they too had heard, but the conversation soon turned back to the usual topics of holidays, family and golf."
She continues: "Around 8 o'clock our attention was diverted back to the fire as the sky north and west of where we were in Plaza de la Constitución had turned a dark orange colour. It was very obvious that the fire had spread significantly and it was then that we really started to become quite concerned.
"We tried to call our neighbours who live in our urbanisation but we couldn't get hold of them which of course made us begin to panic more."
Shortly after, Sue and Martin decided to leave their friends and head back to Calahonda.
"As we approached, it became apparent that our home was in very real danger. I can't put into words how sick, properly sick, it makes you feel to know that your home and everything in it could be burnt to the ground. We both had this empty, sinking but gut-wrenching feeling." says Sue.
"We were turned away by the emergency services as the roads were closed. We went back to Fuengirola and went to our friends' house so we could keep abreast of what was going on via the news and internet.
"It was so scary as we learned more and more about what was happening and we didn't sleep a wink.
"When we found out the next day that the emergency services had evacuated everyone and had protected our properties, there was this overwhelming sense of relief.
"We were still dreading returning home of course, worried about what the scene would be like. There was ash everywhere and the exterior wall of our balcony was blackened but there was no major damage – which, considering how close such a huge fire was, is a miracle.
"We cannot thank the firefighters enough."
"Everyone worked together"
Dutch-born Valtocado Urbanisation resident Karin Driessen, says she saw the blaze from her home and alerted a friend whose apartment was in the path of the fire but who had no idea as she was out in nearby Mijas Pueblo.
She explains: "I saw flames leaping into the sky and began to hear constant sirens of the fire engines and police vehicles. After realising where the fire was, and also the magnitude of it, I immediately rang my friend and told her of the danger that her home was in. She rushed back as quickly as possible to rescue her cat which was inside the property, but the roads had already been closed.
"Fortunately, both the apartment and the cat survived the blaze – but it was very close; too close for comfort!"
Karin adds: "I then realised that the SOS Animal Shelter was also under threat from the fire which was growing and becoming wilder due to the high winds. I was one of the many volunteers who went to the centre to move the dogs out in case it was struck.
"There were, I think, about 140 dogs and everyone was climbing in to help by taking the animals in their cars to their own homes and other local shelters and kennels. I took six dogs back to my own home that evening.
"Everyone pulled together under such scary and unpredictable conditions."
"The firefighters were brilliant"
Steve Margetts, who runs Riviera del Sol-based property sales and rental firm, Marlin Global, says that his tenants are "full of praise" for the fire crews who used the upper terraces of the complex where they live to tackle the blaze.
"They all agreed that they were brilliant and extremely professional and polite. Some said that the firefighters were almost apologetic at having to use their apartments," he confirms.
"After the fire, when the clean-up operation began to remove the debris and ash from gardens, terraces and pools, there was definitely an attitude of everyone rolling their sleeves up and getting stuck in."
Sarah Dale, one of Mr Margett's tenants, echoes the sentiment. She says: "Everyone was offering places to stay; we took some holidaymakers from next door away with us in the car. It was very worrying when we had to evacuate as you never know whether you home is going to be safe or not."