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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Carlisle man's Spanish holiday fire horror

A HOLIDAYMAKER has described witnessing the horrific wildfires which have swept through southern Spain.

Alan Air, of Carlisle, is staying in Marbella on the Costa del Sol in an arearavaged by fierce fires.

The Foreign Office said over the weekend that“several hundred” Britons had been evacuated from the popular tourist area, including around 300 who had relocated to shelters as strong winds fanned the flames.

Spanish authorities suspect the blaze was started deliberately.

Mr Air, 52, a PR consultant of St James Road, Denton Holme, said he woke on Friday morning to find ash on his hotel balcony.

He told the News & Star: “I thought at first it might be from a barbecue in the hotel grounds.

“Later I could see a dark pall of smoke hanging over the hills and a succession of helicopters and firefighting planes flying numeroussorties to dump water on the fires.

The main toll road to Malaga was closed for a while and traffic seemed heavier on the coast road as a result.

“You could smell the ash in the air but life in Marbella itself is pretty normal. Locals say it has been very hot and dry this summer.”

All British expats and holidaymakers caught up in wildfires in southern Spain have been accounted for.

Firefighters battled the blazes in the Costa Del Sol region which started on Friday.

Some 4,000 people in total left their homes as a result of the fire, which officials said was started in the town of Coin.

Military personnel were drafted in to help as planes and helicopters dumped water over the flames near the popular tourist towns of Malaga and Marbella in Andalucia.

Two Britons were treated in hospital for minor injuries – thought to be smoke inhalation.

Expat John Taylor, who lives in Calahonda, said the windy conditions made the fire more ferocious than ones that have hit in previous years, but the authorities dealt with them very well.

He said: “It came through much more viciously on this occasion, and much more frightening for those people on the top ofCalahonda in the apartment blocks up there.”

Holidaymakers said the smoke had caused them to cough, and stopped them from sleeping.



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