Thousands flee forest fires in southern Spain

Around 2,000 people have left their homes after wildfires broke out in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia.

One emergency worker has been killed in the blaze, which began on Wednesday on high ground above the popular resort town of Estepona on the Costa del Sol.

The Spanish government has deployed a military unit to help firefighters in the mountainous region.

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Six more towns and villages were evacuated on Sunday, and huge plumes of smoke could be seen from miles away.

Residents of five other communities were told to leave their homes on Friday.

The wildfires have burned about 7,400 hectares (18,200 acres), according to Spanish media.

Andalusia’s regional forest fire agency said hundreds of firefighters were tackling the blaze, supported by 41 aircraft and 25 vehicles.

Juan Sánchez, a senior official for the regional fire service, described it as the “most complex” fire seen there in recent times.

He said there had been ongoing discussions about the consequences of climate change, adding: “Today we are living them.”

“This is inhuman, nothing like this has ever been seen,” one evacuee, Adriana Iacob told Reuters news agency. “The flames of the fire as they ran through the mountains, it was amazing.”

“Since the fire started, we haven’t slept for days. It’s awful,” another local resident, Pepa Rubio, said.

Europe has seen a number of wildfires this summer.

Climate change increases the risk of the hot, dry weather that is likely to fuel wildfires.

The world has already warmed by about 1.2C since the industrial era began and temperatures will keep rising unless governments around the world make steep cuts to emissions. -Reuters

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