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Spain evacuates 2,000 people as crews race to check wildfire

Firefighters walk in the area of a wildfire in Pujerra, Malaga (Alex Zea, Europa Press via AP)
Firefighters walk in the area of a wildfire in Pujerra, Malaga (Alex Zea, Europa Press via AP)

Emergency agencies deployed almost 1,000 firefighters, military personnel and support crews on Thursday to fight a wildfire in southern Spain that has forced the evacuation of some 2,000 people amid fears that torrid weather may feed the blaze.

Authorities raced against the clock in the dry, hilly area of Andalucia as Spain’s AEMET weather service said the country could be on the verge of a heatwave.

Temperatures were forecast to reach well over 30C (86F) and to increase over the weekend.

Crews sought to take advantage of lower temperatures and more humid conditions overnight that saw the flames quiet down, according to the national firefighting service Infoca and the Andalucia regional government.

Seven water-dropping helicopters and a coordinating plane were on standby.

Spain’s Emergency Military Unit, which is assigned to help civilian forces with major incidents, sent 233 personnel and more than 80 vehicles to the area, authorities said.

People were evacuated as a precaution late on Wednesday from five different locations across the province of Malaga, with most sheltering with relatives or in local hotels, officials said.

The blaze injured three firefighters after it broke out on Wednesday amid gusting winds.