"The wind has been playing games with us" admitted one the firefighters tackling the huge Sierra Bermeja fire that has been active and remains uncontrolled since Wednesday night.
The latest official Infoca estimate, this Friday morning (10 September) is that some 3,600 hectares of land have been affected, which would make it the second most devastating of the last decade in the province after the 2012 fire on the Costa del Sol which scorched 8,582 hectares from Coín to Ojén.
Three factors have combined the create almost a perfect scenario for the Sierra Bermeja fire to spread so quickly. The first, high temperatures and a dry environment; the second, a complicated orography, full of ridges and valleys; the third has been, perhaps, the most important: a 'shifty' and treacherous westerly wind.
On Thursday night the wind offered a truce, for the first time, to the more than 400 members of the Plan Infoca forest fire brigade. It subsided in the hours after sunset and stayed below 10 kilometres per hour. And it was a respite for the firefighters who had just lost a colleague.
However, starting at dawn, the wind began to blow again, with gusts of between 15 and 20 kilometres per hour, and again with constant changes of direction, which makes extinction tasks enormously difficult and represents an added risk for the firefighters because of the unpredictability of the fire.
During the night, Infoca specialists intensified their work in two very specific areas. The first containment zone is centred on the border between the municipalities of Jubrique and Genalguacil, which was where two sources that started the fire were detected.
The second, near the MA-8301 road, which rises from Estepona to the Peñas Blancas, where 37 residents were evacuated. The aim of the firefighters is to protect property, but also the Los Reales de Sierra Bermeja Natural Park, which has enormous environmental value.
Buenos días. Sobrecogidos aún, con cabeza y corazón volcados en él, los trabajos de la noche en #IFJubrique se han centrado en contener el #IIFF en la carretera que sube de #Estepona a Peñas Blancas con fuego técnico y en mantener contenida la zona de #Jubrique y #Genalguacil pic.twitter.com/OLPb4dAwX7— INFOCA (@Plan_INFOCA) September 10, 2021
Descontrolado el incendio decretado en #IFSierrabermeja #IFJubrique a esta hora de la noche. Video tomado en la AP7 muy cerca de la estación de servicio El Gastor @marbellasequeja @CSurNoticias @DiarioSUR @Storm_Malaga @malagahoy_es @A3Noticias @sextaNoticias @informativost5 pic.twitter.com/DdoQFuGH69— IsraJosue (@israejosue) September 9, 2021
El incendio de Sierra Bermeja visto desde el satélite Modis. pic.twitter.com/5kHz1gMj6C— Jose Luis Escudero (@tormentayrayos) September 9, 2021