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Wildfire in southern Spain forces town evacuation; three hurt

Wildfire in southern Spain forces town evacuation; three hurt
A forest fire near the town of Pujerra, Malaga, southern Spain, 08 June 2022 (issued 09 June 2022). Military Emergency Unit (UME) were deployed and authorities raised the alert level as an ongoing wildfire rages in the area surrounding Malaga, forcing mass evacuations. EPA-EFE/Alvaro Cabrera

BENAHAVIS, Spain, June 9 (Reuters) - A wildfire in mountains in southern Spain has forced evacuation of 2,000 people from the centre of the town of Benahavis and injured three firefighters, authorities said.

The blaze started on Wednesday afternoon on the slopes of Pujerra mountain in the Sierra Bermeja, above the Costa del Sol, a magnet for British tourists on the Andalusia coast, Andalusia’s Wildfire Department (INFOCA) said on Twitter.

Hot summer weather and adverse winds are stoking the blaze, it said in a post late on Wednesday.

Emergency services set up tents in the town of 7,000, but most of the evacuees found shelter with relatives or at hotels.

As many as 200 firemen from the department together with 100 military personnel and 50 firefighters from other Costa del Sol towns are battling the fire.

Spotter aircraft were over the area early on Thursday.

“Sadly, we have to report that three firefighters from INFOCA suffered burns of different kinds and one of them has 25% of his body burned and was evacuated to Malaga hospital,” Andalusia’s regional president Juanma Moreno told reporters.

Another wildfire ravaged that same mountain range in September, reducing at least 7,780 hectares (30 square miles) of woods and bushes to ashes in days. About 1,000 firefighters backed by some 50 aircraft worked to put out that blaze.

(Reporting by Jon Nazca; Writing by Inti Landauro; editing by Robert Birsel and Bradley Perrett)

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