ESTEPONA – The fire that started on Wednesday evening near Estepona continues to rage in the municipalities of Estepona, Jubrique, Genalguacil and Benahavis. The AP-7 has again been closed in both directions and a total of 600 people evacuated as a precaution.
The toll road is closed due to the dense smoke (seen in the photo below) between km 157 and 171 in both directions. Also the MA-8301 (Estepona-Jubrique) and the MA-8302 (Estepona-Genalguacil) are still closed. Things got tense on the AP-7 as the fire approached a gas station less than 50 meters away.
Last night people were evacuated from the Forest Hill and Abejeras urbanizations in Estepona. Today (Thursday), people in the Montemayor urbanisation in Benahavís had to leave their homes as a precaution. In total, there are already 600 people who had to leave their homes because of the proximity of the fire. Those who could not find shelter with family or friends could go to the Pabellón del Carmen sports hall in Estepona.
So far, no personal accidents have been recorded. The flames did destroy an abandoned house and a porch of a building.
250 active fire units on the ground
250 fire units are now active on the ground, assisted by 12 fire engines and 29 fire-fighting aircraft and helicopters. The firefighters are from all over Andalucia.
It concerns two fires, both originating in Genalguacil, which have already destroyed more than 2,000 hectares from Wednesday evening 21:37. The fact there were two fires strengthens the authorities’ suspicion that it was deliberately lit.
According to the forest firefighting service Infoca, the orography in the mountainous area makes it extra difficult to extinguish the fire. In addition, a strong westerly wind is blowing, which only fuels the flames further.
The fire has destroyed many acres of Mediterranean forest. However, the area with the greatest ecological value and which is therefore protected, the pinsapar, has not yet been affected, the mayor of Estepona has confirmed.
The Junta de Andalucía has activated level 1 of Infoca’s emergency plan due to its severity.