In pictures: Wildfires spread across southern Spain

 Members of the Civil Protection service look for people inside a chalet during a general evacuation at a residential area
Members of the Civil Protection service look for people inside a chalet during a general evacuation at a residential area Photo: Jon Nazca / Reuters

An elderly man died and his wife are missing after thousands of people, including hundreds of Britons, have been evacuated from villages around the Spanish resort of Marbella when a wildfire spread panic.

A regional Interior Ministry official said the most recent fire started outside the mountainside town of Coin, northeast of Marbella, and that authorities suspect arson as the cause.

Nick Thatcher has the latest.

All residents of the nearby town of Ojen were forced to evacuate as flames swept through their valley.

Jose Antonio Grinan, the regional president, said two people were being treated for burns and bruises.

 Firefighters try to extinguish fire in forest on road between Marbella and Monda in Ojen
Firefighters try to extinguish fire in forest on road between Marbella and Monda in Ojen Credit: REUTERS/Jon Nazca

A dry winter followed by a scorching hot summer has left much of southern Spain very dry and susceptible to fires.

Firefighters try to extinguish a fire with branches in a forest at Barranco Blanco in Coin
Firefighters try to extinguish a fire with branches in a forest at Barranco Blanco in Coin Credit: REUTERS/Jon Nazca