German suspect held without bail in deadly wildfire on Spanish island

A 27-year-old German man suspected of starting a deadly wildfire still blazing on La Palma, one of Spain's Canary Islands, was ordered held without bail by a Spanish judge, the regional court said Saturday.

A 54-year-old forestry worker died Thursday while helping fight the wildfire, which broke out Wednesday and by Saturday had scorched nearly 4,000 acres of pine forest.

The 2,500 residents in the fire's path that had been evacuated in the past several days were allowed to return home at the weekend.

But 500 more people in the communities of Montes de Luna and Tigalate were ordered to leave early Sunday.

The suspect has reportedly confessed to Spanish authorities that the blaze broke out after he defecated in the woods and lit his toilet paper on fire outside the town of El Paso, near the Cumbre Vieja nature park.

Spanish media reported that the German was charged with "grossly negligent" behaviour and faces a prison sentence of between six and 12 months. He had reportedly been living in a cave on the island.

La Palma is the most north-western island in the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of north-west Africa.

Last update: Sun, 07/08/2016 - 14:33

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