PHOTO: SALVADOR SALAS

Almost 1,000 hectares affected by forest fire that started in the Sierra de Mijas

Close to 1,300 people have already been evacuated to safety from the area, and another one thousand are preparing to leave their homes

IRENE QUIRANTE

The forest fire which broke out at around 12.30pm this Friday, 15 July, in the Sierra de Mijas and that has continued to spread - first to Alhaurín de la Torre and then to Alhaurín El Grande - has already led to nearly 1,300 people being evacuated from the area, with an expectation of having to move to another 1,000 from the latter municipality, for which the MA-404 road from kilometre 9 to 13 is currently being closed.

This has been confirmed by the Junta de Andalucía’s spokesperson, Elías Bendodo, who has travelled to the Advanced Command Post that has been set up in Alhaurín El Grande, next to the sports pavilion that will be used to accommodate the evacuated people.

Junta spokesperson Bendodo (blue shirt) at the command post.

Bendodo pointed out that flames have already affected about 800 hectares. The fighting task, he explained, is being complicated due the complex orography of the land, which is covered with a very leafy mass, and the wind, which is causing the flames to spread rapidly.

At the moment, 107 Infoca personnel are working at the site of the blaze and 15 aircraft have been mobilised. They are supplemented by 35 firefighters from the Malaga provincial brigade as they fight to control the fire.

Although the work is progressing favourably in the area at the tail of the Sierra de Mijas, the situation in Alhaurín El Grande is of particular concern. The hope is that after night the conditions will improve to attack the fire.

The mayor of Alhaurín El Grande, Antonia Ledesma, has clarified that the sports halls of the municipality have been set up to house those people who have had to be evacuated from their homes because of the fire, although she has said that most people have turned to relatives until they can return to their homes. She has also appealed for calm from the town’s residents, who she advised to close the windows and only go out with caution.