Monday, October 2, 2023

Over 4,500 evacuated as Spain’s Tenerife wildfire takes on ‘unseen dimensions’

Over 4,500 people were evacuated on Saturday in the northeast of Tenerife as the wildfire has taken on an unprecedented dimension in Spain’s Canary Islands.

The fire, which began late on Tuesday night in hilly and forested terrain, has now expanded its perimeter to 50 km and blazed over 5,000 hectares of land, Xinhua news agency reported.

Except for the evacuation, many people are told to stay indoors to avoid the possible effects of smoke. But emergency vehicles are allowed to run on the roads.

President of the Tenerife Cabildo (Municipal Council) Rosa Davila said in press conference on Saturday that the fire was “taking on a situation that has never been seen before in the Canary Islands.” It has been so fierce that it was “out of our capacity to extinguish it,” she said.

So far the fire has affected 11 municipalities, but “no homes have been lost,” Davlia added.

President of the Canary Islands Fernando Clavijo said the unusual fire is a result of the warm, dry and windy weather in recent days.

He said the rugged terrain made it difficult for firefighters to combat the flames on the ground, and the huge quantity of smoke generated by the fire (which can be seen all over the island) was also “complicating the operation of aircraft.”

According to latest data from the European Forest Fire Information System, wildfires have burned 81,058 hectares in Spain in 2023. Most of Spain remains on “extreme” level for further wildfires as the fourth heatwave of this summer is expected to affect the country over the weekend and the start of next week.



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