**ALL ROUND PICTURES FROM SOLARPIX.COM** **WORLDWIDE SYNDICATION RIGHTS EXCEPT SPAIN & SOUTH AMERICA - NO SYNDICATION IN SPAIN OR SOUTH AMERICA** Caption: A British man who destroyed 5,000 acres of forest in the Sierra Nevada national park after lighting a fire when he got lost, has been jailed for 18 months.
Michael Hanks, 66, from Colchester in Essex was also ordered to pay a record 10.6 million euro (£9.1 million) fine by a court southern Spain for starting the blaze in September 2005.
The former chief executive of Islington & Shoreditch Housing Association lit a small fire to alert rescuers to his whereabouts after losing his way in the mountains while walking with his girlfriend near their holiday home in the village of Acequias.
The pair called emergency services to find them after straying off a path within the Sierra Nevada national park. Hanks described how he lit a small fire within a circle of stones to send up a smoke signal so they could be easily located by a mountain rescue team.
But the fire quickly got out of control and spread. It took 227 firefighters using 12 planes and 20 helicopters eight days to extinguish the flames.
The fine, which included 1.3 million euros to cover the cost of putting out the forest fire and 9.1m euros for restoration and restocking of the area, was the largest ever imposed by the regional government of Andalusia.
This Pic:Spanish Fire services fighting the fire in Sierra Navada.
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