Firefighters battling a “monster” wildfire in southern Spain, which killed a firefighter and caused the displacement of over 2,600 people, were given some breathing room Monday by light rain.
The fire, which officials believe was set deliberately last Wednesday in the southern Malaga province, has been fought by 500 firefighters and 51 water-dropping planes, according to the regional administration.
260 troops from the military’s emergency brigade began firefighting efforts in the Sierra Bermeja mountains on Sunday, assisting firefighters.
When it started to rain, elderly citizens who had been relocated and transported to a centre in Ronda burst out laughing, according to local television footage.
However, firefighters say that while the rain will wet the tinder-dry vegetation and help to temper the fire, it will not be enough to put it out.
Juan Sanchez, the head of the Andalucia region’s firefighting organization, told reporters, “The rain will not put out the fire.”
“However, in regions where we have it under control, it will help reduce the time it takes to entirely extinguish it.”
Almost 1,000 emergency workers fighting Spain wildfire
The fire, which has so far devastated 8,000 hectares (20,000 acres) of land, has been termed as “complex and exceptional” by local rescue services.
Last week, Alejandro Garcia, the region’s deputy fire chief, stated that erratic winds, scorching temperatures, and low humidity levels had contributed to the blaze becoming a “hungry monster.”
As a precaution, authorities evacuated 1,600 residents from six villages on Sunday.
Around 1,000 people who had been evacuated from Estepona’s coastal resort when the fire broke out were permitted to return home on Monday.
“Controlling it today appears to be an impossible task, but there is a ray of hope,” regional environment minister Carmen Crespo told news radio Ser.
Several Mediterranean countries, including Greece, Italy, Turkey, and Algeria, have been affected by devastating wildfires fueled by high temperatures this summer.