Forest fires which caused thousands to flee their homes was caused by careless smoker
The Costa Blanca infierno which forced thousands of people, including many Brits, to flee their homes and hotels was started by a smoker, police have revealed.
Investigators have found a number of discarded ciga-rette butts at a local beauty spot in Alicante where the terrifying forest fire started last month.
The flames spread with horrendous speed, fanned by the scorching temperature and strong winds, and came perilously close to luxury villas and villages not far from Benidorm on the Costa Blanca.
Several homes of British families were burnt to the ground and others lost their dream homes.
Police originally believed the fires had been started deliberately and a hunt was started for arsonists.
Now, however, it is believed the forest blaze which hit Javea and Benitachell so badly was caused by simple carelessness.
Seprona, the unit for nature protection of the Civil Guard, says one or more people smoking was to blame for the incident which saw more than 1,000 people evacuated.
They believe someone was simply enjoying the view, lit up a cigarette and then threw it over the side of the cliff into the woods below without another thought.
Government delegate Juan Carlos Moragues said many cigarette butts were found at the viewing point known as the Mirador de Cumbres del Sol, despite smoking being banned in the forests.
Seprona has confirmed that cigarette embers were found at the source of the fire which had spiralled out of control because of the weather conditions.
Arsonists were thought to have been responsible at first because the blaze appeared to have started in several places and at one stage, police thought culprits travelling around in a car were responsible.