Emergency crews and firefighters worked through the night in an attempt to stem the fire.
Canary Islands

Firefighters in Tenerife battle through the night to halt worst wildfire in decades

Canary Islands regional President Fernando Clavijo said today’s efforts would be crucial to containing the fire.

FIREFIGHTERS BATTLED OVERNIGHT to try to bring under control the worst wildfire in decades on the Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife, officials today said.

The fire in the north of the island, which started late on Tuesday, has forced the evacuation or confinement of nearly 8,000 people in eight municipalities.

Images and videos posted on social media showed the flames coming down the hill close to houses in small neighbourhoods and a massive cloud of smoke rising from the area.

The fire is located up in a pine wooded mountain area with several municipalities on its flanks, including Arafo and Candelaria to the east, and La Orotava to the west.

spain-tenerife-wildfires The flames advance through the forest near the town of El Rosario with the wildfire’s perimeter measuring 25 miles. AP AP

Army captain Rafael San Jose told Spanish National Television that some progress had been made overnight in stopping the fire’s spread but that rising temperatures during the day would increase difficulties.

The Canary Islands have been in drought for most of the past few years, just like most of mainland Spain. The islands have recorded below-average rainfall in recent years because of changing weather patterns impacted by climate change.

Canary Islands regional President Fernando Clavijo said the blaze, which has scorched 3,200 hectares (7,900 acres), was still very virulent but that fortunately there had been no injuries so far.

He said today’s efforts would be crucial to containing the fire.

The north of the island was forecast to have a maximum temperature of 30C today, with light winds but temperatures were set to rise further over the weekend.

The flames cover a perimeter of 40 kilometres (25 miles) encircling some 4,000 hectares (10,000 acres) of land.

Nearly 300 firefighters and Spanish army soldiers are in the area, which is around 20 kilometres (12 miles) away from its main town, Santa Cruz.

Tenerife is one of Europe’s main tourist destinations.

Its tourism office has stressed that the most popular tourist areas are far from the fire.

Business continues as usual in accommodation establishments, beaches and other tourist sites near the coast and in the midlands, the office said.

But access to the Teide National Park, one of the biggest tourist attractions in Tenerife after the beaches, was closed yesterday evening and all tourist facilities around the Teide volcano area, including accommodation, were to be evacuated.

featureimage Emergency crews and firefighters worked through the night in an attempt to stem the fire. Arturo Rodriguez / AP Arturo Rodriguez / AP / AP

Clavijo claimed the fire was the worst in 40 years.

He said the combination of extreme temperatures and the fire had turned the area into a virtual oven.

The seven-island archipelago is located off the north-west coast of Africa and south-west of mainland Spain.

More than 2,000 people were evacuated in a wildfire on the nearby La Palma island last month that affected some 4,500 hectares (11,000 acres).

Wildfires have burned almost 64,000 hectares (158,000 acres) in Spain in the first seven months of the year, according to Spanish government data. That’s the third highest figure in the last decade.

Spain accounted for almost 40% of the nearly 800,00 hectares (2 million acres) burned in the European Union in 2022, according to the European Forest Fire Information System.

Press Association
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