Firefighters tackle the flames on Sunday evening. / PLAN INFOCA

Firefighters battle through the night to control the Nerja wildfire

The Junta’s specialist Infoca brigade declared the fire ‘controlled’ at 6.30am this Monday morning, while a 70-year-old man has admitted being responsible for sparking the blaze

EUGENIO CABEZAS / ISABEL MÉNDEZ

The wildfire declared in the Maro-Cerro Gordo cliffs natural area, near Nerja, on Sunday morning, 28 November, has been declared 'controlled'. This was announced by the Junta’s specialist Infoca brigade at 6.30am this Monday morning on its Twitter account. A total of 21 forest firefighters, an environmental agent and two fire engines remain at the scene to fully extinguish the blaze.

The alarm was raised a few minutes after 10 am on Sunday, when a fire was reported in an agricultural area, allegedly caused by stubble burning that got out control due to a combination of the gusting wind and dry vegetation, after the lack of autumn rain.

Regular firefighters, Civil Protection volunteers and Local Police officers were quickly on the scene to support the specialist Infoca teams, that also called in helicopter support.

Avocado orchards

At around 2pm the flames appeared controlled, after having destroyed some four hectares of avocado orchards and greenhouses. However, just after 4pm the alarm was raised again when the fire rekindled, advancing uncontrollably towards the Maro beach and the cliffs.

This area had already affected by another fire that started in the vicinity, last April. That blaze destroyed around four hectares.

At around 7pm the flames advanced through the pine forest at the Maro tower, towards the area known as Cuesta de la María. It forced the closure of the old N-340.

At midnight, the fire was still active and uncontrolled, having advanced more than two kilometres from its ignition point. Some 75 forest firefighters and five Infoca fire engines, as well as half a dozen crews from the regular fire brigade worked through the early hours to try to stop the advance of the flames through the protected Maro-Cerro Gordo Cliffs natural area.

Finally, at 6.30am this Monday morning the fire was declared controlled. This was announced by the Junta de Andalucía’s specialist Infoca brigade on its Twitter account.

Admitted

SUR has been able to confirm, that a Nerja resident admitted to the authorities on Sunday that he was possibly responsible for sparking the fire after burning stubble on his land. The man, in his 70s, said he was "very sorry" for what had happened, stating that "at no time" did he think that the fire could get out of control, despite the strong winds.