MADRID — A wildfire fanned by strong winds devoured hillsides around the wealthy Mediterranean resort city of Marbella in Spain on Friday. At least one person died, two sustained burns, and more than 4,000 were forced to evacuate their homes.
A dry winter followed by a scorching hot summer has left much of southern Spain tinder dry and susceptible to fires. About 580 square miles of land in Spain has burned in nearly 12,000 wildfires so far this year.
Other European nations, including Greece, Portugal, and Bosnia, also have faced blazes spawned by similar conditions.
In Spain, regional Interior Ministry official Jose Luis Ruiz Espejo said the latest fire started outside the mountainside town of Coin, northeast of Marbella, and that authorities suspect arson as the cause.
All the residents of the nearby town of Ojen were forced to evacuate as flames swept through their valley. Most spent much of the night sheltered in sports centers in Marbella.
Marbella, with its leisure craft port of Puerto Banus, is one of Europe’s most luxurious seaside destinations.