INVESTIGATORS have confirmed that the fire which ravaged almost 120 hectares of the Arroyo de Marin in Archidona, reported in EWN, was started intentionally.
An official statement affirms that the blaze was caused by “intentional vandalism via the burning of a vehicle,” and that the man arrested in the aftermath of the incident was indeed the culprit.
The arsonist torched the Citroen Berlingo vehicle, before sparking two additional fires using wooden chairs and beach furniture.
Evidence recovered from the site include a torch, a spray can, a fire extinguisher, and a shotgun.
He was arrested around 450 metres from the fire, as he staggered semi-conscious from the smoking vegetation, but his motives remain unconfirmed and he is yet to stand trial.
Meanwhile, biologists and wildfire experts have announced that they expect recovery of the burned area, which comprises around a third of the protected Hoz de Marin area, to take around 30 years or longer.
The habitat of two endangered species of orchid which have the same degree of protection as the Iberian lynx, were largely reduced to ashes by the inferno, leading local ecologists to form a new association that will work to protect the valley and surrounding area.
The species, Ophrys vernixia, occurs in only three localities, whereas Ophrys atlantica is endemic to Malaga, 130 species of birds, 22 species of dragonfly, and 48 other orchid species also inhabit the scorched forest.