Wildfires Force Thousands to Flee as Tenerife Island Burns

Wildfires Force Thousands to Flee as Tenerife Island Burns_wildfire on a mountain

Thou­sands of peo­ple have been evac­u­at­ed from four vil­lages on the Span­ish island of Tener­ife as wild­fires rage out of con­trol in the pop­u­lar tourist destination. 

The flames, dri­ven by dry con­di­tions and strong winds, have scorched over 150 hectares near Mount Tei­de Nation­al Park, a UNESCO World Her­itage Site.

The fire, which start­ed on Tues­day after­noon, has grown rapid­ly and threat­ens to spread fur­ther due to the abun­dance of pine trees in the steep and rugged ter­rain. Eleven heli­copters are bat­tling the blaze from the air while ground crews strug­gle to con­tain the perimeter.

Rosa Davi­la, pres­i­dent of the Tener­ife coun­cil, said the fire has a “huge poten­tial” to cause more dam­age and request­ed more resources to fight the infer­no. Vil­lages of Arrate, Chivisaya, Media Mon­taña and Ajafoña have been cleared as a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure. Sev­er­al roads have been closed to ensure pub­lic safe­ty as fire­fight­ing oper­a­tions continue.

The blaze is the lat­est in a series of dev­as­tat­ing wild­fires that have swept across South­ern Europe amid a heat­wave that has left many regions parched and vul­ner­a­ble. Coun­tries like Por­tu­gal, Spain, Greece, Italy, Alge­ria and Tunisia have all faced destruc­tive fires that have claimed lives and property.

Just a day before, over 3,000 peo­ple were forced to flee in France’s Pyre­nees-Ori­en­tales region after a brush­fire con­sumed around 500 hectares, destroy­ing homes and camp­grounds near pop­u­lar tourist areas. The fast mov­ing flames showed the high wild­fire risk fac­ing the Mediter­ranean basin this summer.

As the cli­mate warms due to human-caused emis­sions, extreme heat waves are expect­ed to wors­en and become more fre­quent. This rais­es con­cerns about wild­fires becom­ing larg­er and hard­er to con­trol with­out urgent glob­al action to curb warm­ing. Although sum­mer is wide­ly con­sid­ered peak tourism sea­son, the per­sis­tent fire dan­ger pos­es new chal­lenges for des­ti­na­tions that depend on vis­i­tor spend­ing. Mov­ing for­ward, adapt­ing infra­struc­ture and evac­u­a­tion pre­pared­ness will be crucial.

For now, fire crews on Tener­ife and else­where across the region remain focused on bat­tling the imme­di­ate threats and pro­tect­ing lives as dan­ger­ous wild­fires con­tin­ue erupt­ing amid the scorch­ing conditions.

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