The fire in Sierra Bermeja. / M. A. Herrera

Two hundred firefighters tackle blaze in mountains behind Estepona as 400 are evacuated from their homes

The Junta de Andalucía has declared the fire as Level 1 on the Plan Infoca risk scale

VANESSA MELGAR

The regional government has raised the risk of a fire that broke out this Wednesday evening in the Sierra Bermeja mountains behind Estepona to Level 1 of the Infoca fire-fighting unit's 0-3 emergency plan.

Around 200 fire-fighting professionals have been working on the ground through the night to control several fires that broke out in the Genalguacil and Jubrique municipalities.

Ten aircraft joined the fire-fighting operation from the air early on Thursday morning.

More than 400 people have been evacuated from their homes in the Forest Hills and Abejeras residential areas. Of them, 15 have been put up in the Carmen sports centre in Estepona.

Several roads have been closed: the MA-8301and MA-8302, as well as a stretch of the AP-7 toll motorway between kilometres 157 and 171, on the Cadiz-bound carriageway.

The first fires were declared this Wednesday in the municipalities of Genalguacil and Jubrique in the Serranía de Ronda, in Malaga province, but later the flames spread down towards the coast to the municipality of Estepona.

The town's mayor, José María García Urbano, called for "caution" in the area on social media. "We are keeping a close eye on the evolution of this fire," he said.

The Junta de Andalucía's delegate in Malaga province, Patricia Navarro, activiated Level 1 of the Infoca emergency plan at 3.34am this Thursday morning.

Level 1 of the 0-3 emergency plan is applied to fires that can be controlled with fire-fighting means although measures to protect people and property are considered necessary.