BARCELONA, Spain - An out-of-control wildfire has devastated the Spanish island of Tenerife, affecting nearly 8,000 people who are either evacuated or confined. With thousands of acres burned, this blaze has become one of the most challenging wildfires in the Canary Islands' recent history.
A Battleground Against Nature
Regional President Fernando Clavijo expressed the gravity of the situation, stating that approximately 250 firefighters and Spanish army members are currently battling this raging inferno. Located in the northern part of the island, Tenerife—renowned for its stunning beauty and as a popular tourist destination—is facing a crisis with a fire perimeter stretching nearly 30 kilometers, or 19 miles.
"This is probably the most complicated blaze we have had on the Canary Islands, if not ever, in at least the last 40 years," Clavijo acknowledged. The combination of extreme temperatures on the island and specific meteorological conditions caused by the fire have turned the affected area into a virtual furnace.
A Race Against Time
Despite the valiant day and night efforts of firefighters, the fire remains "out of control," according to Clavijo. The island's largest town, Santa Cruz, is currently situated approximately 20 kilometers, or 12 miles, away from the flames.
The wildfire poses a significant threat to six municipalities, leading to the evacuation or confinement of approximately 7,600 residents due to hazardous air conditions. Officials are working relentlessly to safeguard these communities and limit further damage.
Spain's Tourist Hotspot: Unscathed
Tenerife's importance as a key tourist hotspot cannot be overstated. The Tenerife tourism office emphasizes that the main tourist areas and cities of the island remain unaffected by the fire. Accommodation establishments, beaches, and other attractions located near the coast and in the midlands continue to operate as usual, offering visitors an enjoyable experience.
Spanning across seven islands, the Canary archipelago lies northwest of Africa and southwest of mainland Spain. As the country grapples with another year of severe drought, this devastating wildfire could potentially become Spain's worst blaze of the summer.
Let's act in unity to support the brave men and women fighting against nature's destructive forces, ensuring the safety and protection of Tenerife's residents and natural wonders.
Teide National Park Closed to the Public due to Wildfires
Access to the Teide National Park in Tenerife, one of the most popular attractions after the beaches, will be temporarily closed to the public due to an ongoing wildfire. The Canary regional government has announced that the closure will be effective from Thursday 6 p.m. local time (17:00 GMT). As a precautionary measure, all tourist facilities, including accommodation, will be evacuated. The personnel of the Astrophysics Institute of the Canary Islands will also be asked to leave the area.
This wildfire is particularly fierce on the north side, and further evacuations are expected in nearby neighborhoods. The recent extreme heatwave in the Canary Islands, with temperatures exceeding 40º Celsius (104º Fahrenheit), has exacerbated the situation. Unfortunately, temperatures are set to rise again on Saturday.
If not contained, this wildfire could potentially become Spain's most devastating blaze this summer, adding to the country's already severe drought conditions. Just last month, a wildfire on La Palma island led to the evacuation of over 2,000 people and affected approximately 4,500 hectares (11,000 acres) of land.
According to Spanish government data, wildfires have already consumed almost 64,000 hectares (158,000 acres) of land in Spain in the first seven months of this year. This figure is the third highest recorded in the past decade. In fact, Spain accounted for nearly 40% of the total 800,000 hectares (2 million acres) burned in the European Union in 2022, as reported by the European Forest Fire Information System.
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