Sat Sep 1, 2012 8:25AM
A plane of the fire brigade pours water to extinguish a wildfire in Ojen, near the town of Malaga, Spain on August 31, 2012.

A plane of the fire brigade pours water to extinguish a wildfire in Ojen, near the town of Malaga, Spain on August 31, 2012.

A wildfire raging near the Spanish resort city of Marbella on the country’s southern region of Costa del Sol has left at least one person dead and several others injured, forcing the evacuation of thousands in the area, officials said. Over 300 firefighters were involved in battling the fire on Friday, which led to the death of an elderly man whose body was found near Ojen, a town in the mountains behind Marbella. Meanwhile, according to the regional authorities, a man and a woman in their fifties were also taken to the city's Costa del Sol hospital after suffering serious burns. The raging flames, which had spread several kilometers along hilly ground behind the coast, prompted firefighters, backed up by emergency military personnel and 31 planes and helicopters, to keep on fighting the huge inferno fanned by hot winds and high temperature. The blaze started on Thursday near the port city of Malaga and went westward through tinder-dry hilly countryside. Thousands of people had to be evacuated to a sports center when the fire reached housing estates on the outskirts of Marbella. The Costa del Sol is one of Spain's most popular holiday destinations. According to reports on August 13, two people lost their lives from injuries sustained during attempts to fight the flames in Spain’s eastern province of Alicante. Between January 1 and July 29, wildfires destroyed 130,830 hectares of vegetation in Spain, which is experiencing a draught - unprecedented in seven decades - after getting almost no rainfall in winter. MR/MA/AZ
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