At about six thirty yesterday evening, I was walking the dogs. A huge column of smoke rose behind the hills above Viña Borrego. It was so dense it looked solid. By the time I returned home it looked like a collapsing mushroom cloud, as though an atomic bomb had gone off in Las Delicias. The sirens had been going for a while. The helicopters began flying overhead from very early on. Unusually, fixed wing aircraft joined them very shortly afterward.
I didn't realise they were racing against the sunset. They lost. At sundown it looked like Earth was a two sun planet. Two sunsets in the same sky. The clouds stained red by the sun to the west, and the huge clouds of smoke reddened at the bottom by the flames. At full dark, the flying stopped. There was no smoke visible to the naked eye. I really believed it was over.
At dawn, I saw what might have been smoke on the other side of the hill. When the sun was up, the flying began again. It was the second story on the Spanish TV news. 2000 hectares, the fire-front extended 30 kilometres. It was – and is – out of control. The wind had shifted overnight and continues to shift. Six municipalities are affected – so far. Coin, Monda, Ojen, Alhaurin El Grande, Marbella. Every hour the news is worse. Calahonda is being evacuated.
This morning I did some translation between the Urbanisation's president and the owner of the Venta. His daughter Monica told me her contact at the Fire Brigade had told her they suspected arson. The roads to the coast are closed. So is the main Costa Del Sol toll road, the AP-7. And still the planes fly overhead. The military emergency services are helping. Around 6,000 have been evacuated from their homes. People slept in Sports Pavilions and shopping malls last night. Emergency State 2 has been declared. I'll go to the pub around 3.30, it's Friday, after all. It doesn't look like the fire will come back this way. I hope not.