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Wildfire Forces Evacuations in Southern Spain

INTERNATIONAL: A wildfire engulfed a Spanish mountainside on Wednesday 8th June, forcing the evacuation of dozens of residents in the town of Benahavis near Malaga.

The fire, which started on Pujerra Mountain, caused a huge cloud of smoke that could be seen from kilometers away.

Police officers assisted evacuating residents in the southern Spanish town, while restaurant workers carried their outdoor tables and chairs inside.

Donald and Gillian MacMichael, British citizens now residing in Benahavis, said they had been instructed to evacuate but were unclear for how long they would need to be away from their home.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) 81-YEAR-OLD BRITISH RESIDENT OF BENAHAVIS, DONALD MACMICHAEL, SAYING:

“We have been told we need to evacuate and that is obviously important, so we are going back to our apartment now to collect a few bits and pieces, and we will be leaving the village. Whether they will be able to get in touch with us or anybody else during the night, whether we are expected to come back, we will just have to wait and see.”

“Yes we were here, that was okay. We didn't need to evacuate last year, so this is obviously a more serious fire."

Andalusia's regional forest fire agency (INFOCA) said 140 firefighters were tackling the blaze supported by 15 aircraft, and a Spanish Military unit was also being deployed on Wednesday night to assist with the efforts.

Wind gusts of 40 kilometers per hour are making the fire to advance 30 meters per minute, INFOCA added.

PHOTO: VARIOUS OF WILDFIRE ON MOUNTAIN / POLICE ASSISTING EVACUATION / PEOPLE PREPARING FOR EVACUATION / SOUNDBITES FROM RESIDENTS BEING EVACUATED


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