Wildfire on Spain’s Tenerife scorch 1.6% of island

Wildfire on Spain’s Tenerife scorch 1.6% of island

Around 4,000 people evacuated, canal damaged

By Alyssa McMurtry

OVIEDO, Spain (AA) - Spanish authorities said on Friday that the wildfire on the Canary Island of Tenerife continues to burn out of control and has now scorched around 1.6% of the island’s surface.

On Thursday, the raging flames had burned around 2,600 hectares (6424 acres) in less than 48 hours, and by Friday morning, the fire had affected 3,800 hectares in nine municipalities, according to Canary Islands emergency services.

Around 4,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, and another 3,000 ordered to stay indoors.

Authorities said the fire had calmed down overnight compared to previous days when the fire was extremely unpredictable, spreading through convection and generating its own “microclimates.”

“We’ve seen a lot of things and behaviors [of the flames] that we had never seen before in any wildfire in the Canary Islands before,” meteorologist and government adviser Vicky Palma told broadcaster Cadena Ser.

The president of the Canary Islands called it the “most complicated” fire seen in the last 40 years.

Temperatures are rising and the wind direction is changing on Friday, threatening to affect new areas.

Damage has also been done to a canal, with residents in the north of Tenerife being asked to moderate their water consumption to ensure firefighters have enough to battle the blaze.

While the flames have come extremely close to some towns, it is mostly burning in a forested area, partially in the Canary Islands’ largest natural park. The Arico Natural Park is home to some of the best-conserved forests in the region and unique species like the Tenerife blue chaffinch.

The wildfire is also affecting agricultural land, and has forced more than a thousand farm animals such as chickens, horses, goats and sheep to be relocated.

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