Wednesday, July 24, 2024

In Spain’s Canary Islands, fire crews are making progress as they battle a fire burning in Tenerife.


On Sunday, fire crews made progress in extinguishing the massive forest fire that was burning Tenerife, Canary IslandsBetter-than-expected weather overnight prevented the fire from reaching homes and destroying them, officials said.

The fire broke out late on Tuesday in a mountainous area in the northeast of the Spanish island, but quickly became the largest wildfire ever to hit the Canary Islands.

To date, the fire, with a circumference of 84 km, has destroyed 11,600 hectares of land, representing 6 percent of the total area of ​​the island of Tenerife. According to the island’s government, citing police reports, more than 12,000 people had to evacuate their homes.

Canary Islands Prime Minister: “This achievement is almost a miracle”

The head of the Canary Islands’ government, Fernando Clavijo, said that despite expectations that the island would face a difficult night, things had improved significantly. He told reporters early on Sunday: “We warned of a complicated situation with high temperatures and strong winds expected … It’s true, at the beginning of the night, we received many calls that there was a fire. Very close to people’s homes.”

However, he said fire crews “worked tirelessly” throughout the night to contain the fire and did not allow any homes to be destroyed. He described the feat as “almost a miracle”.

In turn, Montsy Roman, the technical head of fire operations, noted that the efforts carried out during the night were mainly focused on protecting infrastructure and houses in the northern part of the fire areas, stressing that no new evacuation order had been issued.

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But emergency services confirmed that the state-run luxury Parador Hotel, next to Spain’s highest peak Mount Teide, had been ordered to evacuate. It is not known how many people were evacuated from the hotel, which is located in the middle of the Teide National Park, 2,000 meters above sea level.

Smoke billows over Spain’s highest peak

On Sunday, around 610 people were involved in the firefighting efforts supported by 20 air units to douse the flames and help the victims. According to emergency services, air units made about 930 sorties on Saturday during which they dumped nearly 1.5 million liters of water on the flames.

So far, 11 cities in Tenerife, the largest of the seven Canary Islands, have been affected by the fires. Emergency services said air quality was affected in most parts of the island due to smoke from the fire. Due to the fire, a huge plume of smoke rose up to eight kilometers, which overtook the top of Mount Teide.

“It’s spreading like a sixth-generation wildfire,” said Pedro Martinez, who is overseeing the firefighting effort, referring to a massive wildfire. Heavy clouds of smoke and wind hampered firefighting efforts, he said.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is expected to visit the region on Monday.

A year ago, Spain was hit by more than 500 fires that destroyed more than 300,000 hectares, making it the worst-hit country in Europe, according to the European Forest Fire Information System. So far this year, 340 fires have been reported and nearly 76,000 hectares have been destroyed, according to the same source.

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France 24/AFP

Rolf Colon
Rolf Colon
"Creator. Award-winning problem solver. Music evangelist. Incurable introvert."

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