At a meeting of Manilva council last week, the opposition accused the mayor, Mario Jiménez, of harming the town's image in his public statements after the large fire that recently destroyed 54 hectares of the municipality.
Referring to the mayor's comments that the source of the fire could be drug gangs looking to distract emergency services while they landed their hauls nearby, Diego José Jiménez of the PSOE said, "Even if correct, the statements harm the municipality's image, cause alarm and give away clues to help [the smugglers] to bring in more drugs."
The mayor replied that "95 per cent of local people know what happened that night and we can't look the other way". The council is calling for an improved Guardia Civil presence in the town.
At the same meeting, councillors voted to submit a request to national government for the municipality to be officially declared an area of serious damage following the fire which saw some 400 locals evacuated.
This special status would give the town access to extra support and grants.