SUR

More than 3,000 people evacuated from homes as weather prevents helicopters joining the Pujerra forest fire battle

The fire started in La Resinera, on land that once belonged to Colonel Gaddafi, where a project for 1,900 homes and a golf course was originally proposed

JUAN CANO

The fire that is devastating the Sierra Bermeja again originated in ​La Resinera, one of the largest fincas in the area, covering some ​​6,500 hectares spread across the municipalities of Benahavís, Júzcar and Pujerra in Malaga province.

In 1995, the estate was acquired by the Libyan Foreign Bank (Forebank), a public bank in the North African country. Given that the land escaped environmental protection at the time, Colonel Gaddafi revealed an ambitious project for a golf course, some 1,915 homes, tourist buildings and public facilities. But in March 2011 the Spanish government froze the assets (and with them, the project) of the dictator, who died in October of that same year. Currently, the finca is used as a private hunting reserve.

Sierra Bermeja

The latest fire in the Sierra Bermeja started at around 3pm on Wednesday (8 June), when the terral wind was blowing more strongly, in the municipality Pujerra and more specifically in the area known as Los Baños. It is not a transit area or well connected, which makes the extinction of the fire difficult. Plan Infoca specialist firefighters have now been joined by Spain’s Military Emergency Unit (UME) as they work to control the blaze.

Vídeo.

3,000 evacuated

Through the night some 3,000 residents were evacuated from their homes in Benahavís. The town mayor, José Antonio Mena, said that between 2,500 and 3,000 residents left the main town, as well as more than a hundred people who were forced to leave the Montemayor, Marbella Club Golf and Benahavís Hills residential developments, as well as scattered country houses in Júzcar and Pujerra.

Residents evacuated from Benahavís, being cared for in San Pedro / JOSELE

During the hours of darkness technicians from the Emergency Systems Unit flew drones over the area affected by the fire to help inform firefighters on the ground of the direction of the blaze.

@Plan_INFOCA

The intention was that this morning, Thursday 9 June, aircraft would be used to control the perimeter of the fire, however the current weather conditions - with a thermal inversion in the area - are preventing that from happening for the moment.