The forest fire on the Canary Island of Tenerife, which is popular with holidaymakers, is still out of control after a good four days. The flames have so far covered around 8400 hectares of nature, said the Canary Prime Minister Fernando Clavijo late Saturday evening. This corresponds to the area of almost 12,000 football pitches. The good news is that the entire southern front of the fire is "very stable." The northern fire area is worrying.
According to official estimates, the number of people who have had to leave their homes because of the fire in the north and north-east of the island is more than 12,000. This estimate is based on the population of the eleven affected communities. At first, a spokeswoman for the authorities even spoke of around 26,000 evacuees on Saturday. This number was later revised significantly downwards. Injured or destroyed houses were not initially reported.
The cause of the fire that broke out late Tuesday evening near the municipality of Arafo was still unclear. According to the Canary Emergency Service, more than 340 emergency services fought the flames on Sunday night. After daybreak, firefighting planes and helicopters would be used again, it said. The number will be increased from 19 to 23 on Sunday.
Difficult to access terrain
Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said at the end of his visit to Tenerife on Saturday: "We can feel reasonably safe and can hope that we can get the fire under control in the next few days if the weather cooperates." Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced a visit to the island for Monday.
According to the Canary Islands' heads of government, this is one of the worst fires in Tenerife in the past 40 years. According to official information, the extinguishing work was made more difficult from the start because of the difficult-to-access terrain, the adverse weather conditions and the heavy smoke development. According to official information, normality continued to prevail in the tourist areas of the island.