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.