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Firefighter dies as blaze forces 1,000 to evacuate in southwestern Spain

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The fire began on Wednesday evening.
The fire began on Wednesday evening.   -   Copyright  Twitter - Protección Civil Estepona/Miguel Ángel Herrera

Hundreds of people have been evacuated in southern Spain due to a raging wildfire, regional authorities said.

Firefighting teams and planes were battling a blaze in the Sierra Bermeja mountain range in Malaga province, which started late on Wednesday.

Authorities have confirmed that a 44-year-old firefighter perished on Thursday while trying to extinguish the fire.

At least 1,000 people were evacuated near the resort town of Estepona, while road traffic has also been disrupted.

The blaze expanded overnight on Thursday and has destroyed more than 3,600 hectares of forest land.

Around 250 firefighters were working to extinguish the fire on the ground, helped by 29 planes, authorities said.

Smoke from the blaze also led to the temporary closure of 14 kilometres on the AP-7, a major motorway, as well as two smaller roads.

The regional fire extinguishing service said that the rugged terrain had made the firefighting operation "difficult".

“It has pronounced slopes and there is a strong west wind that is complicating the work,” Infoca said in a statement.

Spain’s Ministry for Ecological Transition said that an estimated 74,200 hectares of forest and bush areas in the country had burnt during the hot, dry summer months of 2021.