Wildfire in Canary Islands forces evacuations

Over 4,700 people evacuated in two days

 

The fires on the Atlantic islands of La Gomera and Tenerife have forced the evacuation of more than 4700 people in the past two days, the regional government said.

 

They have ravaged more than 3000 hectares of land on La Gomera where they first broke out a week ago, including part of the Garajonay nature reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

 

On Tenerife the flames have spread over some 200 hectares.

 

Active

 

“Both fires are still active,” Canary Islands emergency services spokeswoman Lourdes Jorge said yesterday, adding that nine water-dumping planes were being used to douse the flames on the wooded hillsides.

 

“We are still on alert for high temperatures on the archipelago and that makes the extinction work more difficult,” the spokeswoman said.

 

The maximum temperature on the islands was forecast to reach 39 degrees Celsius yesterday, the government weather office said, after a sweltering week across Spain.

 

Spain is at particularly high risk of fires this summer after suffering its driest winter in 70 years, and blazes have broken out in various parts of the country in recent days.

 

Officials said two villages were evacuated in the northwestern region of Galicia on Friday as flames devoured 800 hectares of vegetation and another wildfire erupted on Saturday in the northern Ger region bordering France.

 

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