Canary Islands: 9,000 People Flee Gran Canaria During Second Major Wildfire This Month
Over 9,000 people have been evacuated as Spain’s Canary Islands are on fire for the second time this month.
Since it began over the weekend, the wildfire has burned more than 23 square miles of land on the island of Gran Canaria, according to The Guardian.
More than 700 firefighters, 11 helicopters, five airplanes and one million liters of water have been used in efforts to extinguish the fire which has been raging since Saturday, Aug. 17. Although the fire has not been contained, it appears to be slowing.
At its peak, flames from the fire reached heights of more than 150 feet and caused significant damage to Tamadaba natural park. The fire made land access to the park impossible, which made fighting it difficult to fight on the ground.
Ángel Víctor Torres, president of the Canary Islands’ regional government, told a Spanish radio station on Tuesday that the fire was “miraculously” slowing its advance after firefighters worked through Monday night to contain the blaze. They were aided by an overnight drop in temperatures, according to CNN.
The island has a population of more than 850,000 people and is one of Spain’s most popular summer tourism destinations, receiving approximately four million visitors every year.
The fire has so far been contained to the center of the island. Most tourists visit the island’s coast to take advantage of the beaches.
A few weeks ago, another wildfire on Gran Canaria forced the evacuation of more than 1,000 people. It burned almost 2,500 acres of land. The island also battled a case of arson earlier this month.
Gran Canaria was placed under orange alert — the second-highest level for fire risk warning — last week as temperatures climbed to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.