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Wildfires in Marbella

Wildfires in Marbella

Thursday, 30. August 2012 - 21:15

By  Linda, Lynda, Labeed, Paul and Philip - Members of Marbella-Guadalmina Club

We all went to bed on Thursday night knowing that there was a huge fire near to Coin, about 7 km east of the El Rosario area of the Costa del Sol. Wildfires are common in this area from July to September and the wind was from the west, so we were aware but not concerned.

At 2.15am 3 of the ladies, in their homes around El Rosario, were suddenly aware that the curtains over their open windows were being sucked outwards. Each looked out of windows towards the fire and realised that it was close to the houses abutting the ‘campo’.  The smoke was dense, acrid and glowing red. There was a roaring noise and the air was full of large, glowing embers. The ladies shook their husbands awake. In each house they dressed rapidly, gathered up passports and pets and loaded their cars. In one case the fire officer was climbing over the high, garden wall to enter the front garden and give evacuation instructions. He reminded us to take our pets.

Most of us compared notes when we met up at the urbanization entrance. By now it was 3.0am and the Don Quixote Restaurant had opened to take us in and care for us and our pets. The owner handed out water, coffee and beer and refused all payment.

We were told that the area was under the control of the Military Police and we were not allowed to re-enter the urbanization until the police considered it safe.

The police, both Military and Local, were charming, helpful and caring as well as being efficient throughout the long night. People kept arriving, some wearing almost nothing and shoeless, with babies in only nappies – many were very shocked. An ambulance from the local DYA Ambulance organisation was parked outside the restaurant and the paramedics were caring for injuries and shock and even managed to provide nappies for the babies.

There was a ‘bottle-neck’ at the entrance to the urbanization of fire appliances needing refilling and emergency vehicles going in and out. The police prevented any private vehicles from entering because the fire was blazing in many gardens and some parked cars on the north side of the area had exploded.

Ours is an old urbanization and many of us are very good friends, so we sat through the night catching up with gossip. One of our club members followed police instructions to care for his pet and was seen sitting on the front at Puerto Banus with the cat close at hand. During the long night we all agreed that Life and health are more important than property. The German Bakery opened early and we put out the tables and chairs so that they could start their normal breakfast service immediately.

The fire helicopters started to fly over the area at dawn to check if the fire was fully extinguished and we were allowed to return to our homes at about 9.30 on Friday morning.

We are sitting down to write this in the mid-afternoon on Saturday 1st September. 2 helicopters with water buckets are trying to dowse a re-ignited fire about 400 meters from this house.

Helicopter bringing water to douse the fire