Last chance to contain Tenerife wildfires TODAY as firefighters & army battle soaring 34C temperatures & 7,600 evacuated | The Sun
FIREFIGHTERS battling a brutal blaze in Tenerife are working against the clock to bring the fire under control – as its feared rising temperatures could worsen the inferno.
Soldiers have been drafted in to battle the wildfires which are sweeping across the popular holiday island with more than 7,600 evacuated from towns and villages.
The major tourist destination has been battling the inferno since late Tuesday, and more than 7,600 people have been evacuated from the region.
The flames have now spread across 8,000 acres – and firefighters believe today is critical in bringing the fire under control.
As fire crews face a race against time, Army Captain Rafael San Jos said progress was made overnight but rising temperatures will make fighting the blaze today more difficult.
Shocking pictures and videos shared on social media shows the flames coming close to residential neighbourhoods as smoke billows into the sky.
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Efforts taken today are said to be crucial to containing the horror blaze, regional president Fernando Clavijo revealed.
Clavijo said: "This is probably the most complicated blaze we have had on the Canary Islands, if not ever, at least in the last 40 years."
Nearly 8,000 acres have been scorched, but there have been no injuries or deaths so far.
The fire has crept across the pine wooded mountain region with several municipalities on its flanks.
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The 19-mile blaze is located in the mountainous area of Arafo – and hundreds of people in the surrounding villages of Arafo, Candelaria and La Orotava have been forced to flee.
A years-long drought and below average rainfall in recent years has further exacerbated the wildfires.
With high temperatures of 30C in the coming days – expected to rise even more – fears are rising.
Nearly 300 firefighters and Spanish army soldiers are in the area, 12 miles away from Santa Cruz.
Tenerife's tourism office stressed that the major holiday hot spots are far from the flames.
Business has continued as usual at beaches and other tourist sites dotted along the pristine Spanish coast.
But access to the Teide National Park, the most important tourist attraction in Tenerife after the beaches, was closed Thursday evening.
The seven-island archipelago is located off the northwest coast of Africa and southwest of mainland Spain.
More than 2,000 people were evacuated in a wildfire on nearby La Palma last month, which burned 11,000 acres.
More than 150,000 acres have burned in Spain in the first seven months of 2023, according to the government.
As the forest fire rages, part of the sea has been turned black as burning ash rains down on it.
Footage from the holiday resort of Las Caletillas on the north-east coast shows the water covered by a layer of ash.
Vicky Palma, a wildfire advisor to the Tenerife Council said the Canary Islands had never seen a blaze of the sort currently affecting Tenerife.
She said: “We’re seeing a type of fire we’ve never seen before in the Canary Islands.
“The fire has been generating convection in the 34 hours it has been burning.
“The column of flames has been three and six kilometres high, even at night-time."
Weather experts have declared 2023 an El Niño year – a natural phenomenon that occurs cyclically and causes fluctuations in the global climate.
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The UN’s World Meteorological Organization said it will raise temperatures around the world, and the effect is likely to continue for the rest of the year.
And despite the heat this summer, Europe's record temperature of 48.8C – recorded in 2021 in Sicily – has not been reached and is currently not forecast to be broken.
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