Former Huddersfield gymnast and pub landlord Brian Hayhurst and his wife Elaine are ex-pats who have lived just outside Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol for 20 years. He writes every fortnight for Huddersfield Hub.
It’s such a hectic time here on Spain’s Costa del Sol with most resorts claiming higher than expected holidaymakers flooding into hotels.
The ever-popular Torremolinos is reporting it has the highest overnight stays in the whole of Andalucia, pushing Seville into second place, according to official surveys.
But last week’s forest fires have left charred and burned out areas which have made the summer of 2022 the worst for wildfires since records began.
Over 400 firefighters, numerous water-loaded helicopters and seaplanes from all around the provinces fought bravely for days on end attempting to save homes, their residents and wildlife, although many wild animals were lost.
Two of the wildfires are believed to have been started intentionally. Enquiries are on-going.
One of the dozens of small urbanisations affected, is pictured below. It has just nicely managed to clean the outsides of homes of the brown Sahara dust, and many were evacuated.
Just beyond this outcrop is a farm, from which animals somehow escaped. One was a large bull which was severely burned, losing much of its fur and skin. Vets were able to treat the animal which is now recovering well.
One of the major Costa charity groups – ‘Simply Thriving’ (previously, during the pandemic, called Simply Surviving) – is planning a number of events in connection with Mijas Town Hall, which will benefit the firefighters, to say thank you for their fearless and devoted work in trying to keep everyone safe.
We are in the middle of Feria season up and down the Costa del Sol with each town or municipality staging its own week-long fun-filled festivals with people dressed in traditional costumes, including foreign visitors.
For centuries residents and fun-seekers have enjoyed music, dance, food and children’s activities. Most fairs go on until 4am!
Mijas has just concluded, and the largest on the Costa will begin next Saturday in Malaga, which will attract over a million during the seven days of mayhem.
Meanwhile, two speed cameras near Malaga have resulted in over 90,000 speeding drivers being fined between 2017 and 2021. More are predicted this year, giving the devices the highest number of offenders snapped throughout Spain.
The Spanish government has made one or two radical changes. One will affect property tenants. The government has limited the increase of rent paid by tenants to a maximum of 2%.
PM Sanchez and his team are also to demand that shops turn window lighting off at 10pm and attempt to keep doors closed if air conditioning is being used. Shops, offices and public buildings must set air conditioning units no lower than 27C. These measures, they hope, will save energy.
It will be interesting to see how the late-night shopping areas like Marbella and Puerto Banus are policed. And as reservoirs become parched once more, no water saving restrictions have been posted – yet.
But the dire shortage here is nothing compared to Gibraltar which has had little or no water anywhere for over a week. A rock fall and a fire cut off power to the Osmosis Plant which creates drinkable water from the sea.
READ MORE: Brian writes every fortnight for Huddersfield Hub. Catch up HERE
Water was brought in from Spain as an emergency in bowsers for the elderly and those with children. Public showers were made available for community use.
Although unemployment has now fallen to the lowest rate in 14 years, there is still a desperate shortage of hospitality staff for the bustling bars and restaurants.
The good news for those hoping to take a holiday here is that the tourist board has rejected the proposed visitor tax, saying: “This is not the right time.”
And the EU-wide requirement that each visitor has to prove they have a minimum of £85 per day, which you read about here first, has been suspended – although it is still an EU law.