1. ITV Report

Fire forces hundreds of British expats from Spain homes

Wildfire reaches Marbella in southern Spain. Photo: Reuters

A wildfire in southern Spain has forced hundreds of British expats to leave their homes and find their shelter in evacuation centres.

Some 4,000 people were forced to leave as the fire fanned by strong winds, spread through hills around the popular southern Spanish tourist city of Marbella. Spanish authorities suspect the blaze was started deliberately in the town of Coin.

The fire continues in the Calahonda region. Credit: Twitter/ Pablo Moro

The Foreign Office said that "several hundred" Britons had been affected and evacuated from the popular tourist area, including 300 who have relocated to shelters. The FCO issued a statement:

We have deployed consular staff to visit evacuation centres and they are providing assistance to British residents who have had to leave their homes.

We estimate that several hundred Britons have been evacuated, including some 300 who have been relocated to evacuations centres in the La Cala de Mijas and Calahonda areas.

There are no reports of any casualties among the British population, nor any requests for urgent assistance.

According to Spain's National Institute of Statistics, in 2007 there were 63, 472 British expats living in the autonomous region of Andalusia, where the fire is currently raging.

Holidaymakers said the smoke has caused them to cough, and stopped them from sleeping. One Briton spoke to ITV News reporter Clare Fallon:

Regional Interior Ministry official Jose Luis Ruiz Espejo said the fire started early today and that two people had been injured, one seriously, according to Cadena SER radio.

Nearly all residents of the nearby town of Ojen were evcuated and given shelter in sport centres in the coastal resort of Marbella.

There were also reports by Spanish media of a fatality caused by the fire.

The FCO said it would continue to update the travel advice on the Spain page of its website.

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