Wildfires in Tenerife 2023: holiday hotspot ravaged by ‘worst fires’ as thousands evacuated
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Tenerife has been struck by ‘the worst wildfires’ in at least four decades as more than 7,500 have people evacuated or ordered to stay at home. It has been reported that fires have spread across 2,600 hectares (6,425 acres), and are now drawing close to the capital, Santa Cruz.
According to Fernando Clavijo, the regional president of the Canaries, more than 250 firefighters, military emergency crews and 17 aircraft have been working to tackle the fire, which broke out in the northeast of the island on Tuesday (August 15).
In a press conference on Thursday (August 17) , Fernando Clavijo said: “The night has been very tough.
“This is probably the most complicated blaze we’ve had on the Canary Islands – if not ever, at least in the past 40 years.”
Meanwhile, technical adviser to the Tenerife authorities, Vicky Palma, said: “A fire on a scale not seen in the Canaries since record began.”
Evacuation and confinement orders have been issued to keep people safe as the blaze continues to burn out of control within 20km (12 miles) of Santa Cruz.
“The decision was taken because burning ash and wind are causing small fires in different areas,” he added.
Alba Gil, a resident of the confined village of La Esperanza, told The Guardian, she and her family had been up until 4am on Tuesday because they were worried about the flames.
“When you go outside you start suffocating,” she told Reuters. “It’s as if you have something stuck in your throat,” she said.
According to The Met Office, temperatures in Tenerife have peaked to more than 40C (104F) in recent days, are set to rise again on Saturday.
It does not appear that UK airlines have been affected by the fires.