A huge fire caused by a cigarette, that was probably thrown out of a car along the RM-54, destroyed over eight hectares of protected land last Sunday night on the banks of the Mar Menor.

Bathers trying to escape the day’s heat watched as huge plumes of black smoke filled the blue skies above them. Lo Poyo, between Los Nietos and Los Urrutias, is considered an area of high ecological value, and is one of the few remaining natural areas next to the Mar Menor.

Four fire engines from across the region and a helicopter were scrambled to the scene, with the blaze starting at around 7.30pm, being brought under control some four hours later.