fire spain
A huge wildfire is burning huge areas of southeast Spain (Twitter)

At least 300 Britons are among thousands of tourists and residents evacuated by Spanish authorities as a wall of fire closes in on the major holiday resort of Marbella.

Security forces ordered evacuations from the outskirts of the city, from the town of Ojen and from a campsite at Alpujata, after wildfires broke out on Thursday in the Sierra Negra region of Coin and spread rapidly. Flames were up to 45ft (15 metres) high, said Angel Nozal, the mayor of Mijas, a small town between Marbella and Malaga.

At least one man has died as a direct result of the fires.

Helped by strong winds and high temperatures, the blaze covered 12km in a few hours. More than 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) have been affected. The road connecting Marbella to Ojén has been closed.

Marbella on the Costa del Sol is among Spain's most famous tourist destinations, attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over Europe each summer.

The city is also home to a large community of British expats.

The carbonised body of an elderly man was found by Spanish police near Ojen, 10km north of Marbella. He had returned to his home after he was evacuated.

Two other people, a man and a woman both aged 58, suffered from serious burns and were taken to hospital.

"This is without doubt the worst fire we've had," Elias Bendodo, Malaga council leader, told Spanish national radio.

"The wildfire seemed to dip and then suddenly the wind picked up and we saw fire coming towards our apartment. As we drove down the hill we went through burning embers everywhere," Kimberley Stone, a British tourist on holiday with her family in the village of El Soto, told the BBC.

Spain Wildfire: Costa del Sol is Burning [SLIDESHOW]