Hundreds evacuated as fire rips through forest near Benidorm

Holidaymakers and locals put up in schools, restaurants and hostels

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A huge fire near Benidorm has forced over 1,000 people to be evacuated after the forest blaze spread to areas where hundreds of tourists are on holiday.

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Images posted by social media users show the flames engulfing huge parts of the Costa Blanca resort of Xabia on Sunday evening.



The Independent reports that around 40 firefighters were sent to the scene by Spain's Military Emergency Unit after the fire spread through tourist areas near Valencia and Benidorm.

Firefighters worked through the night to tackle the blaze, which has destroyed at least 20 homes and forced hundreds of people to spend the night in schools, restaurants and hostels in nearby Denia and Benidorm.



According to The Local, three separate fires were started deliberately on Sunday afternoon between Xabia and Benitatxell, spreading quickly due to strong winds.



Firefighters used 14 water-carrying aircrafts and helicopters on Monday morning to control the fire.

The Red Cross sent 50 volunteers to help with evacuations.



One man was arrested after refusing to leave his home.

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