News24

Spain: Thousands flee as fire spreads

2012-08-31 19:02

Madrid - Thousands of people were evacuated after a huge wildfire reached the edge of the popular tourist beach resort of Marbella on Spain's southern Costa del Sol, Spanish authorities said on Friday.

The fire broke out late on Thursday and raged out of control overnight, forcing the evacuation of thousands to a sports centre in Marbella when it reached their homes in a housing estate in the north of the city. Two people were injured.

Millions of tourists visit the southern coast every year and hundreds of thousands of expatriates live in the coastal belt stretching from Marbella east to the port city of Malaga.

The fire broke out near Malaga and spread quickly west towards Marbella, fanned by strong winds and high temperatures, defying the efforts of Spanish firefighters backed by aircraft and helicopters dumping water on the flames.