At least 600 people were evacuated Thursday from their homes in hills above the southern Spanish resort of Estepona as fire crews and aircraft battled a wildfire.

The fire in a mountain range in the province of Malaga erupted late on Wednesday and spread, driven by winds up to 50 km per hour, with alternating directions.

Some forty people have been evacuated near the resort of Estepona and three other communities, regional authorities in Andalusia said in a statement.

The region’s fire service, Infoca, said a 44-year-old firefighter died from burns from the blaze.

The victim belonged to a crew of nearly 300 firefighters on the ground with approximately 29 aircraft and helicopters, authorities said.

José Gracia Urbano, mayor of Estepona, told reporters investigators are assuming arson because the fire broke out at two separate spots in the evening as the wind picked up gusty.

“It has pronounced slopes and there is a strong west wind that is complicating the work,” the official said in a statement.

Several roads have been closed because of the fire, including a section of the AP-7 motorway that runs along the Mediterranean.

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