The fire, on the road to Casa de la Mina, in Cómpeta. / INFOCA

Video | Families evacuated as forest fire declared in the Sierra Almijara natural park in Cómpeta

Infoca has deployed three helicopters and 82 specialist firefighters to the scene. The Mayor of Cómpeta said that the situation is "very worrying", because of the prolonged drought

Eugenio Cabezas

Just three days after the Maro forest fire was finally declared extinguished, a new blaze has been declared in the Axarquia this Friday, 3 December.

The flames were spotted shortly before 2pm next to the access lane to the Casa de la Mina (a now closed rural hotel and hostel) and Pico del Cisne in the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama Natural Park protected area.

Several families have been evacuated from their rural homes as a precaution due to the advance of the fire, whose column of smoke is clearly visible from Nerja.

Plan Infoca initially deployed three helicopters, a fire engine, and five crews of forest firefighters, comprising of 35 individuals.

Subsequently, the firefighting means were expanded to three helicopters (one heavy and two light), 82 forest firefighters, four operations technicians, three environmental agents and five pump operators.

The Malaga Provincial Fire Brigade has also sent units from the Nerja and Vélez-Málaga stations.

"Very worrying"

The mayor of Cómpeta, Obdulio Pérez, explained that the situation is "very worrying", because of the extreme drought in the area due to the lack of rain. "We are very concerned," he said from a viewpoint close to the fire, from where he could see the "impressive flames."

"I am in contact with the Junta de Andalucía to provide all available means, but unfortunately we are already in December and the main fire season has ended," he added.

40 km/h winds

Wind gusts of up to 40 kilometres per hour are complicating the fire-fighting tasks. The extreme dryness of the vegetation is also complicating the work and accelerating the advance of the flames towards the heart of the Sierras Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama natural park, a protected environment with 40,663 hectares spread across 13 municipalities in the Malaga and Granada provinces.