Tenerife wildfire now out of control, with over 1,800 hectares of forest devastated

Published on August 17, 2023
Canary IslandsNews from Canary Islands
wildfire tenerife canary islands august 2023
Image source: Bomberos Tenerife (Fire Brigade in Tenerife)

The president of the Canary Islands, Fernando Clavijo, stated last night that “the fire in Tenerife is out of control and that the scenario is not positive.

Although the progress of the fire is slow, the objective of containing it and stopping the flames has not been achieved, despite the immense work of the emergency teams. The forest fire declared in Arafo and Candelaria already exceeds 1,800 hectares, with a perimeter of 22 kilometers, and covers four municipalities as it enters the bordering areas of Santa Úrsula and La Victoria.

What we know so far about the forest fire in Tenerife

  • The fire, which started at midnight on August 15th in Arafo and Candelaria, affects four municipalities, entering the limits of La Victoria and La Matanza, with a perimeter of 22 kilometers
  • 14 air means operated on Wednesday, with one of the three amphibious planes of the Ministry and tomorrow two more seaplanes will arrive, with a total of 17 helicopters and planes working to extinguish the fire
  • During the afternoon, the upper part of the towns of Igueste and Araya, both in Candelaria, were evacuated in a preventive manner, and all accesses to the mountain continue to be closed.
  • On Wednesday, more than 270 troops have participated, including combatants and the security and logistics device, and tonight 258 terrestrial personnel will act

Clavijo pointed out that the work at night was going to be important for the development of the fire and that there will be a device of 258 ground troops, including combatants, security and logistics, to prevent the fire from advancing and protect people and households.

In this sense, Wednesday's actions have focused on stopping the advance towards inhabited areas and preventing their opening to the west, containing the fire on the Los Loros highway, although the work on the northeast and northwest flanks has not yielded the results expected. In the words of the technicians, the day has been tough, with adverse weather conditions and complicated topography, with inaccessible ravine bottoms and areas in which it is impossible to intervene.

Yesterday afternoon, the preventive evacuation of the upper area of ​​Araya, from Cruz del Camino to Los Brezos, and the highlands of Igueste de Candelaria on the banks of the Camino de La Cuestita, from the confluence with the roads La Morita and Parts Roads.

Also, with the aim of protecting the population, the upper part of the Igueste de Candelaria area was evacuated, the nuclei located above kilometer 3 of the TF-523, a dozen houses in Las Lagunetas, and the scattered ones of Arrate, Chivisaya, Media Montaña and Ajafona, located in the municipality of Arafo.

Most of the evacuated people, 132, have relocated to the homes of relatives or friends and only four are in the two shelters set up: in the Punta Larga pavilion, in Candelaria, and in the Andrés Orozco School, in Arafo.

Today a total of 15 aerial means have participated, one of them for coordination and with the first of the three amphibious planes of the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (Miteco) that are already on the island. The other two will be operational tomorrow.

By land, there are more than 270 troops, including 170 of the brigades of the Cabildo de Tenerife, the Government of the Canary Islands and the Ministry, as well as the Military Emergency Unit, as well as Tenerife Fire Brigades and the personnel that are part of the security, about 60, and 40 from the Red Cross and the Canary Islands Emergency Service (SUC).

The accesses to the mountain remain closed and there are cuts on the TF-24 between the intersection of Machado and El Portillo and the TF-523, from kilometer 3, Los Loros climb to the intersection with the TF-24.

Air quality

Due to the large amount of smoke generated by the fire, the Ministry of Health of the Government of the Canary Islands, through the General Directorate of Public Health of the SCS, has provided a series of recommendations aimed at the sensitive population and risk groups in these situations. , such as people with previous respiratory or cardiac diseases, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema; boys and girls, pregnant women and the elderly population; and to those people who perform intense physical activity.

In this sense, it is recommended to avoid staying outside and carrying out intense or prolonged physical activities; close doors, windows, if you have air conditioning put it in recirculation mode and with clean filters. In the case of being outside, the use of an FFP2 mask is recommended to avoid respiratory problems and to protect the eyes as much as possible and wash them if necessary.

The Government of the Canary Islands will mobilize an air quality station to be able to monitor suspended particles and be able to issue warnings to the population if necessary.

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