Moment Tenerife wildfire rips through forest before thousands are evacuated on popular


Some 3,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes overnight as yet another wildfire began tearing through parts of Tenerife, one of the most popular tourist destinations of Spain‘s Canary Islands.

Hundreds of firefighters and soldiers have been deployed to tackle the blaze which was reignited on Wednesday after the island faced horrific fires throughout the month of August.

Those fires were the worst to hit the beloved tourist destination in decades – the inferno completely wiped out 14,000 hectares (35,000 acres) of pine forest and scrubland and forced 12,000 people to abandon their homes, some for several weeks.

Although the August blazes were eventually brought under control, it was never fully extinguished. 

Small fires have continued to break out periodically in the same area due to winds and high temperatures – conditions that allowed Wednesday’s fire to increase in ferocity and sparked the evacuation.

So far, an area of just 30 hectares (70 acres) has been affected, but there are fears it could spread further because the island, like the rest of Spain, has been experiencing an intense drought for several years and unusually high temperatures so far in October.

Fires threaten to engulf homes in Tenerife

Fires threaten to engulf homes in Tenerife

Around 3,000 people have been forced to evacuate as the fire spreads

Around 3,000 people have been forced to evacuate as the fire spreads

Helicopters are seen flying over to dump water and survey the territory for those in danger

Helicopters are seen flying over to dump water and survey the territory for those in danger

A helicopter flies over the area of La Corujera today, after the wildfire broke out on Tenerife

A helicopter flies over the area of La Corujera today, after the wildfire broke out on Tenerife

Some 3,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes overnight as yet another wildfire began tearing through parts of Tenerife

Some 3,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes overnight as yet another wildfire began tearing through parts of Tenerife

Pedro Martinez, technical director of fire extinction of the Island Council of Tenerife, talks to media at the Advanced Command Post in the municipality of Santa Ursula, in the area of La Corujera, on October 5, 2023 during the forest fire that began the day before

Pedro Martinez, technical director of fire extinction of the Island Council of Tenerife, talks to media at the Advanced Command Post in the municipality of Santa Ursula, in the area of La Corujera, on October 5, 2023 during the forest fire that began the day before

The fresh blaze is affecting the towns of Santa Ursula and La Orotava in the mountainous northeast of the island, away from the main tourist areas in Tenerife’s southwest. 

Emergency services said on social media they had requested assistance from the army’s Military Emergency Unit, saying the blaze was a high-level emergency.

‘The temperatures will remain higher (than usual), so we expect more fires to be reactivated in the area,’ Rosa Davila, head of Tenerife’s local government, told a news briefing.

She gave no estimate on when those evacuated can return to their homes. Around 30 hectares have been affected since Wednesday evening, she said.

Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic off northwest Africa, is on alert for high temperatures that are expected to reach 39 degrees Celsius (102.2 degrees Fahrenheit) throughout Thursday.

National weather service AEMET said Spain as a whole registered a record six consecutive days of unseasonal heat between Sept. 28 and Oct. 4 and more were expected.

Still, the Canary Islands regional leader, Fernando Clavijo, was optimistic the blaze on the already scorched terrain can be brought under control.

‘There is less fuel (for the fire), so it shouldn’t get out of hand,’ he told a business event in Madrid on Thursday.

Wildfires often occur during the summer months in Spain and neighbouring Portugal and are more rare in the autumn. However, in October 2017 the two countries suffered hundreds of large blazes that claimed the lives of 45 people in Portugal and four in Spain.

So far, an area of just 30 hectares (70 acres) has been affected and firefighters are battling to keep the blaze contained

So far, an area of just 30 hectares (70 acres) has been affected and firefighters are battling to keep the blaze contained 

A picture taken on October 5, 2023 shows the discharge of water from a helicopter in the peaks of the municipality of Santa Ursula, in the area of La Corujera

A picture taken on October 5, 2023 shows the discharge of water from a helicopter in the peaks of the municipality of Santa Ursula, in the area of La Corujera

Hundreds of firefighters and soldiers have been deployed to tackle the blaze

Hundreds of firefighters and soldiers have been deployed to tackle the blaze

In August, some 12,000 were evacuated from Tenerife as ‘out of control’ wildfires ravaged the island.

It was a particularly bad month for wildfires with much of Greece also succumbing to out of control blazes.

European Union officials have blamed climate change for the increasing frequency and intensity of wildfires in Europe, noting that 2022 was the second-worst year for wildfire damage on record after 2017.

Usually, it takes two or three months to completely extinguish a large wildfire if there is rain and humidity but current temperatures above average make it more difficult, local emergency services said. 

Stable dry weather increases the risk of fires and drought. 



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