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Thousands evacuated from 'horrific' wildfire along Spain's southern coast

Sergio Torres / AP

A firefighting helicopter transporting a water bucket heads towards a fire in Ojen, southern Spain, on Aug. 31. Spanish officials say some 4,000 people have been evacuated from their houses as a wildfire abetted by strong winds spread rapidly through hills around the popular southern tourist city of Marbella.

Sergio Torres / AP

Firefighters work to control a raging forest fire as trees are engulfed in flames next to a road in Ojen, southern Spain, on Aug. 31.

Jorge Guerrero / AFP - Getty Images

A firefighter stands near the site of a wildfire in Ojen, near the town of Malaga, on Aug. 31. Some 4,000 people were evacuated from the area. More than 250 firefighters on the ground, backed by eight planes and nine helicopters, battled the blaze after hot, dry winds sent it racing through tinder-dry forest in southern Spain.

Reuters -- A wildfire raging out of control along southern Spain's Costa del Sol killed one man, injured several people and forced the evacuation of thousands on the edge of the upmarket tourist resort of Marbella, regional authorities said on Friday.

More than 300 firefighters were battling the flames, which had spread several kilometers along hilly ground behind the coast, and 31 planes and helicopters were dumping water on the blaze.

Millions of tourists visit the Costa del Sol, famed for its beaches and nightlife, every year and hundreds of thousands of expatriates from northern Europe live on the coastal belt.

"The fire is horrific, with flames 10 to 15 meters high," Angel Nozal, the mayor of Mijas, an inland town between Marbella and Malaga, told the national daily El Pais.

The charred body of an elderly man was found in Ojen, north of Marbella, and a man and a woman in their fifties were taken to the city's Costa del Sol hospital after suffering serious burns, the regional government of Andalusia said.

The fire broke out on Thursday near the port city of Malaga and raced westward through tinder-dry hilly countryside, fanned by strong winds and high temperatures.

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Jorge Zapata / EPA

A light aircraft sprays water with an extinguishing agent over a forest fire along a motorway in Calahonda, Malaga, southern Spain, on Aug. 31. Forest fires continue to expand due to the high temperatures and the fanning wind and forced the evacuation of thousands of people in the Sierra Negra (Black Mountains) the day before on 30 August 2012.

Sergio Torres / AP

Burnt out land is seen around a house atop a hill after a forest fire in Ojen, southern Spain, on Aug. 31.

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