Tenerife is currently grappling with the ferocious blaze that has devastated thousands of hectares in its wake. Amid this catastrophe, some of the island’s most cherished and iconic locations have borne the brunt of the fire’s impact.
From distinctive natural landscapes to culturally significant treasures steeped in history, the flames have mercilessly torn invaluable fragments from the heart of Tenerife. This has left both its residents and the world stunned by the irreparable loss suffered. The lush forests and historical landmarks have been engulfed by the voracious flames, drastically reshaping the island’s landscape and identity.
Chipeque Viewpoint of Tenerife
The Chipeque viewpoint stands as one of Tenerife’s prime vantage points, renowned globally for capturing sunsets, particularly the awe-inspiring view it affords of Teide during the golden hour. It remains a favourite among Tenerife’s locals as well as thousands of tourists year-round.
From Chipeque, one can gaze upon a substantial portion of the island’s northern expanse, offering a vista from Punta del Hidalgo in the west to Buenavista del Norte in the east, with unmatched views of the Orotava Valley. The commanding presence of Mount Teide further enhances its allure.
Moreover, the region hosts endemic species that were under threat decades ago but had been gradually recovering, such as the rosallillo de cumbres. Unfortunately, the Montaña de Ayosa area has been laid to waste, decimating its unique vegetation and fauna.
The sun sinking into the sea, often vanishing into a sea of clouds, presents a rare spectacle globally, prompting countless Instagram and TikTok users to grace their profiles with photos and videos of this breathtaking phenomenon.
The Protected Landscape of Las Lagunetas, a natural enclave in Tenerife, has also been ravaged by the inferno. Its hills, woodlands, and ravines are pivotal for maintaining the underground aquifer and safeguarding soil quality.
Once abundant with lush vegetation like laurisilva and fayal-brezal, this area also harboured endangered and protected endemic flora, including the endemic denarius.
The Surroundings of the Izaña Observatory
Izaña, nestled within the El Teide National Park, is renowned for its scientific facilities, housing the telescopes of the Canary Islands Astrophysics Institute and the Meteorological Observatory. These facilities delve into atmospheric and scientific phenomena within the archipelago.
Although the flames rapidly infiltrated the National Park on Sunday, and while the scientific installations were spared, the loss of vegetation in the vicinity remains of paramount concern. The fire has decimated one of the Canary Islands’ largest tajinaste forests, an area where the echium wildpretii had previously flourished.
Furthermore, Izaña boasts the distinction of being one of Spain’s premier paragliding sites due to having the highest glide slope and one of the steepest descents in the country. It once facilitated leaps from 2,200 metres, affording the opportunity for a 45-minute descent to enjoy the picturesque valley of La Orotava and the municipality of Puerto de la Cruz.
Corona Forestal Natural Park
The Corona Forestal Natural Park stands as the Canary Islands’ most expansive protected natural zone, enveloping the El Teide National Park. This expanse of over 46,000 hectares nurtures numerous endemic, endangered, and protected species of flora and fauna, including the blue chaffinch and Canary Island pine.
It is comprised of a substantial portion of the base of the Caldera de Las Cañadas volcanic structure and the geological edifice of Teide-Pico Viejo, showcasing the primary instances of historical volcanism that have shaped Tenerife.
The area’s botanical value is unparalleled, featuring one of the finest pine forests across the Canary Islands, as well as stretches of high-altitude scrubland and fayal-brezal. Notably, the Gaiterio region offered exceptional vistas and extraordinary landscapes, now reduced to ashes. Remarkable fauna also thrives here, including various species of bats (including the native Canary Island bats), endemic beetles, spiders, and nocturnal butterflies, among others.
Cho Marcial Peak
Situated within the Corona Forestal, Pico Cho Marcial is a favoured destination for hikers on Tenerife. This location, perched in the Güímar highlands, offers panoramic views from an elevation of 2,000 metres.
From this vantage point, hikers embark on trails characterized by steep ascents, dense forests, and rocky terrain. It’s precisely the rugged topography of this route that has complicated firefighting efforts, as the ravines impede access significantly.