Europe

Spain fires: Costa del Sol blaze 'mostly halted'

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe BBC's Tom Burridge says although the wildfires are stabilising, small pockets of fire remain out of control

The advance of huge wildfires that have destroyed properties on Spain's Costa del Sol has been mostly halted, though pockets remain, officials say.

Some people who had fled their homes have now been able to return, although others spent the night in emergency evacuation centres or with relatives.

A 78-year-old man was found dead and five others were hurt, two seriously, in the fires.

Thousands of people were evacuated, including some 300 British expats.

The UK Consulate in Malaga said they had all now left the evacuation centre and were staying with friends or had returned to their homes.

The authorities say the cause of the fires will be investigated, and are not ruling out that they could have been started deliberately.

Cave rescue

Hundreds of firefighters, backed up by emergency military personnel and 31 planes and helicopters, continue to battle a huge blaze near Marbella, famous for its up-market hotels and villas and a favourite haunt of wealthy foreigners.

Spanish media reported that the fires had been brought under control, but fire service officials told the BBC that some pockets were still causing problems.

The body of an elderly man was found at Las Blanquillas near Ojen on Friday. Rescue workers were said to be searching for his wife.

A couple in their late fifties were taken to hospital with 60% burns.

People were evacuated from near Marbella, Ojen and a camp site at Alpujata.

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

The British embassy said it was working closely with the Spanish authorities and consular staff were deployed to assist those affected.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption"I woke up to the smell of smoke... we started running"

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.

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.

More on this story