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costa del sol

Firefighters are battling a huge wildfire raging near the wealthy resort of Marbella on Spain’s Costa del Sol.

At least one person has died and thousands more have been evacuated.

The body of an elderly man was found near Ojen. Rescue workers are searching for his wife.

Evacuations were ordered from near Marbella, Ojen and a camp site at Alpujata.

Marbella is famous for its up-market hotels and villas and is a favorite haunt of wealthy foreigners.

Firefighters are battling a huge wildfire raging near the wealthy resort of Marbella on Spain's Costa del Sol

Firefighters are battling a huge wildfire raging near the wealthy resort of Marbella on Spain's Costa del Sol

Hundreds of firefighters, backed up by emergency military personnel and 31 planes and helicopters, continue to battle a huge blaze that is being fanned by hot, dry winds.

According to the AFP news agency, a 12 km (7 mile) line of fire has spread across the high tree tops in the Sierra Negra mountains.


In addition to the dead man, who was found near his home, five people have been treated for injuries, some of them serious.

Angel Nozal, the mayor of Mijas, a town between Marbella and Malaga, told El Pais newspaper: “The fire is horrific, with flames 10 to 15 metres high.”

The Costa del Sol is one of Spain’s most popular holiday destinations and home to a large expatriate community.

Much of Spain’s countryside was left tinder-dry this summer by a prolonged heatwave. There have been major wildfires in northern Catalonia – near the Pyrenees – and on La Gomera, in the Canary Islands.

Residents of Ojen described panic as the flames forced them to flee without time to gather belongings.

“We left just in our clothes, our nerves jangling,” said Filomena Gomez.

Evacuees from Ojen are now staying in a sports hall in Marbella.

The wind speed has dropped since Thursday and the air is more humid, so there are hopes that the Costa del Sol blaze can be contained soon.

The fire started on Thursday afternoon in the Sierra Negra area of Coin, near Malaga and has now affected an area of some 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres).

Part of the AP-7 highway was cut temporarily, but other roads are unaffected. It is not yet clear how many homes have been damaged or destroyed.

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A witness claimed a blonde girl identical to Madeleine McCann was seen at a campsite in Spain just three days after the British toddler went missing five years ago.

The groggy-looking blonde girl appeared alienated from the German family she was staying with at the resort on the Costa del Sol, according to a witness.

The potential sighting came three days after Madeleine McCann was abducted from Praia da Luz in Portugal, a few hours drive away.

British detectives investigating her disappearance have been told the German family paid extra after arriving at the campsite with one more child than expected on May 6, 2007, reports The Sun.

It is also believed that their vehicle had fake number plates to avoid detection.

The alarm was raised by holidaymaker Karen Sisson, 49, who was staying at the Cabopino campsite near Fuengirola.

A witness claimed a blonde girl identical to Madeleine McCann was seen at a campsite in Spain just three days after the British toddler went missing five years ago

A witness claimed a blonde girl identical to Madeleine McCann was seen at a campsite in Spain just three days after the British toddler went missing five years ago

Karen Sisson, from Gibraltar, told police at the time that the girl was wearing a pink T-shirt, shorts and a beige hat and seemed “out of it”.

She said that the girl seemed out of place with the German couple and their two curly-haired children.

Karen Sisson’s suspicions were further raised when she saw the girl wearing the same outfit the following day.

The mother-of-two left the next day but records show the German family stayed at the campsite for two weeks.

They checked in under the name Karsten Mayer, who gave 1970 as his year of birth.

Their car had a “BE” German number plate, which went out of official use 38 years ago – but the vehicle was a Mercedes Vito people carrier that was first manufactured in 1996.

A spokesman for the McCanns said yesterday: “This lady has done the right thing in reporting what she saw to the police.”

The development comes as Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann on Sunday declared they will never give up their search for their missing daughter as they took part in a ten-kilometre charity run.

Just three days after the fifth anniversary of Maddie’s abduction, the couple took part at the busy Liverpool event for the first time.

Kate McCann, 44, wore a white vest with a picture of Madeleine on the front and the words “Never give up” on the back.

It was the first year they felt able to take part in the event.