At least 365 firefighters were tackling “the most complex fire we have seen in recent times,” he added.
Billowing smoke could be seen rising from the Sierra Bermeja mountains in footage that came from emergency workers digging through the woods to contain the flames. Helicopters overhead dropped water into the valley.
Since the wildfire broke out Wednesday around the resort town of Estepona, it has torched more than 6,000 hectares, or nearly 15,000 acres, of forest. A 44-year-old firefighter died last week while battling the wind-driven flames.
Spain’s military emergency unit deployed 260 soldiers Sunday to help shield nearby towns, the Defense Ministry said.
Some of those who left their homes before the flames could reach them sheltered in a sports stadium overnight.
Carmen Crespo, the regional environment chief, had questioned whether the wildfire could have been started deliberately and promised an investigation.