‘Out of control’ flames and thick plumes of smoke: fear in Tenerife


Madrid. The plumes of smoke are so dense and thick that they are completely recognizable even from space. The flames “outside the extinguishing capacity” of chariots and men are already active on the ground. In Tenerife (Canary Islands) all eyes are on a major forest fire that broke out last night in the municipalities of Aravu and Candelaria: a fire of particular concern because of its rapid expansion and which has already forced the evacuation of some seventy people.

The feeling that he could be an ugly monster to face had already appeared in the early hours of Evolution of Flames. “It is a very complex fire,” warned the Canary Islands’ regional president, Fernando Clavijo, in the morning. “It’s a fire that got out of control with great force,” he added a few hours later.

The Spanish archipelago is facing this emergency at the height of the tourist season and having gone through a situation already complicated in recent days by an intense heat wave: an episode in which temperatures well above 40 degrees reached in Tenerife. This particular context has created the ideal conditions for widespread fires to spread. “In the mountainous areas there is a lot of fuel, and there will be work for several days,” Clavijo noted in an update today.

The Arafah and Candelaria fires broke out late yesterday evening. As explained on Radio Cadena Ser by the Chief of Administration of the Island of Tenerife, Rosa Davila, at the moment a “hard-to-reach” area for ground firefighting vehicles, in which the work of aircraft and helicopters is affected, is affected. More necessary than ever.

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In the fire-affected forest area, there are mainly ‘second homes’ for people who live elsewhere, which is why large-scale evacuations have not yet been required. But the unpredictability of the development of a fire calls for the utmost caution. This is why local authorities have issued repeated appeals to avoid unauthorized access to areas affected by the fire. “We need absolute precautions, nobody goes near the jungle,” is Clavijo’s plea.

So far, between 1,200 and 1,600 hectares have been devoured by the flames, according to the latest available estimates. More than 150 men are active at the site, including firefighters and Army Emergency Unit (UME) soldiers, as well as law enforcement officers and Red Cross personnel. During the day, 13 aerial vehicles were also mobilized for extinction.


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