THE wildfire that has been raging across the Sierra Bermeja in the hills above Estepona and Marbella has been declared ‘stabilised’ by authorities in Andalucia.
Hundreds of firefighters have been battling to control the blaze since it broke out in the Pujerra area on Wednesday afternoon.
“The work during the night has been effective,” said Carmen Crespo, the Andalucian councillor for Agriculture, Fishing and Sustainable Development on Friday morning. “The fire is not under control but it is not advancing.”
The fire has so far ravaged an estimated 2,150 hectares of woodland since Wednesday but a change in weather conditions has made firefighting teams cautiously optimistic that it can be fully brought under control soon.
Meanwhile, Infoca, the government agency which manages fire emergencies, has permitted the gradual return of Benahavis residents after some 2,000 were evacuated as flames approached the town on June 8.
Crespo also said that the regional government was lowering the emergency level.
Around 250 people are thought to be engaged in trying to put out the fire, down from 1,000 at its peak on Wednesday with Spain’s Emergency Military Unit also told to stand down.
So far three firefighters have been injured by the blaze in an area that has become synonymous with forest fires over the last decade.
Last year another fire destroyed 8,600 hectares of protected forest in the same hills and was not put out for 46 days.