Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain (Reuters) – A forest fire that broke out in a mountainous national park on the Spanish island of Tenerife on Wednesday has spread to 1,800 hectares (4,450 acres) in the space of 24 hours as firefighters struggled to contain the blaze from the center. difficult terrain conditions.
The perimeter of the fire stretched 22 kilometers (14 miles) through dry forest covering both sides of steep valleys near the volcano Mount Teide – Spain’s highest peak – impeding access to the area.
“The fire is out of control… the outlook is not positive,” Fernando Clavijo, district leader, told an evening news conference in Santa Cruz, the capital of Tenerife.
He added, “Our goal tonight is defensive so that the fire does not continue to advance. We will carry out operations to protect the residents’ property.”
Authorities deployed 14 aircraft and 250 firefighters and military personnel. A water-bombed seaplane arrived Wednesday afternoon from the mainland and two more are expected Thursday morning.
Vicki Palma, a forest fire advisor for Tenerife Council, told Radio Canarias that the expected drop in nighttime temperatures to around 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit) is likely to increase wind strength in the area.
The island’s chief of emergency services, Pedro Martinez, said: “We do not rule out that we will again witness intense fire activity tomorrow.”
Rosa Davila, president of the Council of Tenerife, said all access roads to the island’s mountains, including the tourist-favorite Mount Teide, had been closed. “We are doing this to prevent any accidents,” she said.
So far, about 150 people have been evacuated from six villages in the sparsely populated area in the north-east of the island, which consists mostly of farms and holiday homes, said Radio Canary Islands.
A dog shelter said it had preemptively evacuated some of its most vulnerable dogs and people with respiratory problems so they would not be affected by the smoke.
And the public radio, quoting the Spanish airport operator Aena, added that the two airports of Tenerife are operating normally.
Last week, a heat wave in the Canary Islands left many areas dry, raising the risk of wildfires.
This summer, firefighters put out a series of wildfires on the islands of Gran Canaria and La Palma, which are part of the Canary Islands archipelago.
Europe is grappling with the effects of scorching temperatures that have reached alarming levels globally, exacerbated by climate change.
Corinna Pons reports. Written by David Latona. Editing by Angus McSwan, Barbara Lewis, and Josie Kao
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