Spain’s Canary Islands battles one of ‘worst wildfires’ in 40 years

Spain’s Canary Islands battles one of ‘worst wildfires’ in 40 years

7,600 residents ordered to evacuate, stay indoors

Alyssa McMurtry

OVIEDO, Spain (AA) - The president of the Canary Islands described a fire that continues to burn out of control on Thursday, threatening homes and prized natural areas, as one the 'worst wildfires' in four decades.

Fernando Clavijo told reporters that efforts to put out the flames have been extremely difficult because the wildfire is creating its “own” climate that is defying predictions.

He said extinguishing the blaze soon will be critical because it is set to get hotter each day until Sunday.

The fire on the Spanish island of Tenerife has torched 2,600 hectares (6,400 acres) in less than 48 hours.

Its proximity to populated areas prompted evacuations in several towns.

Altogether, 7,600 people have been ordered to leave their homes or stay indoors. The indoor confinement orders are not only due to poor air quality but because of the risk of encountering burning embers and to ensure firefighters can move around unencumbered.

The wildfire is raging through Arico Natural Park, the largest of its kind in the Canary Islands. It is burning through some of the best-conserved forests in the Spanish archipelago, home to unique species like the Tenerife blue chaffinch, according to media reports.

The La Provincia newspaper reported that one of the island’s most beautiful and iconic lookouts, the Chipeque Viewpoint, has also been damaged.

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