Fire in Tenerife: the blaze reaches El Teide National Park

It is confirmed that the Tenerife fire was intentional and the Guardia Civil is working on three lines of investigation.

A relentless battle continues against a raging wildfire in Tenerife, where an inferno of unprecedented scale has already laid waste to a staggering expanse of 11,612 hectares. The conflagration, which ignited last Tuesday, has ensnared a sprawling 84-kilometer perimeter in its fiery grasp. Despite the best efforts of the firefighting teams, the situation remains precarious, with the inferno stubbornly asserting its dominance over the northern front.

The impacted area spans across eleven municipalities—Arafo, Candelaria, Güímar, El Rosario, La Victoria, Santa Úrsula, La Orotava, La Matanza, El Sauzal, Los Realejos, and Tacoronte. This relentless force of destruction has forced more than 12,000 residents to evacuate from their homes, seeking refuge from the relentless blaze.

As the clock struck 18:00, rising temperatures breathed life back into dormant embers, rekindling outbreaks in several regions. Fernando Clavijo, the president of the Canary Islands government, lamented, “Some areas that were previously under control have been reignited by the intense heat and the voracity of the flames.” He underscored, however, that firefighting forces are diligently responding to these resurgences, striving to bring them back under control as swiftly as possible.

In El Rosario, firefighting teams, including three Brifor units and aerial resources, grapple with a rekindled hot spot atop El Cerro mountain. Meanwhile, in El Sauzal, multiple areas have flared up once again—a resurgence detected in Las Baboseras and another in La Fuente, as relayed by the local Town Hall.

A broader impact has unfolded in the wake of this catastrophe. The turmoil has compelled the Canarian Equestrian Federation to orchestrate the relocation of around 600 horses, over 300 of which have found shelter in La Orotava and Los Realejos, with an additional 200-plus seeking refuge in Tacoronte, El Sauzal, and La Victoria. Other livestock—cows, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, and ducks—have similarly been evacuated to safer havens.

As the clock neared 16:15, a glimmer of relief emerged for some. Evacuation orders for certain areas, such as Candelaria and Arafo, were lifted, permitting displaced residents to return to their homes and assess the aftermath. Streets such as the upper part of Igueste de Candelaria, the vicinity of Camino La Cuestita near the water reservoir, and segments of Araya in Arafo were deemed secure for reentry.

The flames of the Tenerife wildfire reach the Teide Observatory

Amid this escalating turmoil, the towering flames reached the Teide Observatory, heightening concerns about the wildfire’s relentless advance. The Parador Nacional de El Teide, a landmark in the area, was also evacuated preemptively, underlining the urgency of the situation.

In the face of this unparalleled challenge, communities strained to maintain essential services. Water supply shortages compelled the city of Santa Cruz to enforce restrictions on non-essential water use in the Southwest district. Efforts to cope with the crisis included the establishment of water supply points to alleviate the impact of these limitations.

By early afternoon, the staggering scale of the destruction became apparent. Montse Román, the head of Civil Protection for the Canary Islands Government, revealed that the wildfire had consumed a staggering 11,612 hectares within its wide-ranging 84-kilometer circumference. Amid the chaos, it was revealed that the fire had been intentionally ignited, leading to possible severe penalties for those responsible, including imprisonment and fines.

Fire in Tenerife: the blaze reaches El Teide National Park.
Up to four seaplanes simultaneously fighting the fire in Güímar. | Photo by I Love The World

Throughout the day, firefighting crews, often facing precarious conditions and volatile wind patterns, continued their valiant efforts. As night descended, the battle intensified. The Island Council reported that 151 firefighters would be deployed on the fire’s northern front to attempt to halt its march. The nightshift benefited from the additional resources offered by the UME (Unidad Militar de Emergencias), as a total of 250 troops toiled during daylight hours alongside around 500 individuals responsible for logistics and security.

This tumultuous endeavor marked a juncture where the unyielding spirit of firefighters, emergency responders, and communities collided with the unforgiving force of nature. The challenge lay in the collective determination to reclaim the landscape from the voracious flames, as they united in the face of an unprecedented threat to their homes, livelihoods, and environment.

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