01/09/2012 06:08 BST

Spain Wildfire: British Expats Among Thousands Forced To Abandon Homes (PICTURES)

A wildfire in southern Spain has forced hundreds of British expats to leave their homes and find shelter in evacuation centres.

Strong winds have fanned the flames in the Costa Del Sol region, and Spanish authorities suspect the blaze was started deliberately.

There were unconfirmed reports that a 78-year-old Briton had been killed.

The Foreign Office said "several hundred" Britons had been evacuated from the popular tourist area, including around 300 who had relocated to shelters.

spanish wildfire

The wildfires, which have raged for weeks in Spain, have forced thousands from their home

Some 4,000 people in total have left their homes as a result of the fire, which officials said was started early yesterday in the town of Coin.

Andalucia's regional government said the charred body of a British man was found "in a tool shed" near the nearby town of Ojen.

Tourist Sara Hesketh told the BBC: "We've all got coughs with all the smoke and stuff and we're all exhausted because none of us have had any sleep. We're just waiting now to go home, really."

An FCO spokesman said: "We are aware of the outbreak of a fire in the region surrounding Malaga.

spain wildfire

The wildfires have ravaged forests in the region

"We have deployed consular staff to visit evacuation centres and they are providing assistance to British residents who have had to leave their homes.

"We estimate that several hundred Britons have been evacuated, including some 300 who have been relocated to evacuations centres in the La Cala de Mijas and Calahonda areas.

"We are working closely with the Spanish authorities who are handling the evacuation centres and communications with local residents."