THE regional government confirmed that the Los Montes de Malaga fire was started deliberately.
The fire was first reported at 2pm last Sunday and 36-year-old Ismael, who lives in a house made of wood near San Anton, later told the Press that around this time he saw smoke in the distance. Within half an hour the fire, aided by a strong Poniente (west) wind, was within 200 metres of his home.
He and his housemate picked up as many of their possessions as they could and escaped, together with their dog and three cats. He admitted that when he learnt three hours later that his home had been saved by a stream which prevented the fire advancing further, he shed tears of relief.
The San Anton and La Mosca districts were both threatened at one stage and seven homes near the Jaboneros river were evacuated as a safety measure.
The blaze controlled by nightfall despite the high wind and temperatures of around 36C which complicated the task of the 200 firemen at the scene.
Assisted by helicopters, fire-fighting vehicles and tankers the firemen then concentrated on cooling the affected terrain while there was still a risk of remaining “hot spots” inside the burnt area.
It was the Montes de Malaga’s third conflagration this summer although the previous fires were less serious than Sunday’s which destroyed 100 hectares of pasture, scrub and woodland.
It was “lamentable” that the relatively peaceful summer as far as forest and wildfires were concerned should have been marred by firebugs, said Environment councillor Jose Juan Diaz Trillo.