Rain aids taming of Tenerife blaze, but hikers hinder progress

The Tenerife Island Council and security agencies have increased surveillance in fire-affected mountainous regions due to numerous hikers, cyclists, and horse riders entering restricted areas. Despite recent rain easing fire control efforts, this unauthorised activity poses a new challenge to fully containing the fire.

The Tenerife Island Council, in conjunction with state security agencies, has bolstered monitoring efforts in the mountainous areas of fire-affected municipalities. This follows the detection of numerous individuals—hikers, cyclists, and horse riders—venturing into these prohibited zones over the weekend, thereby complicating ongoing fire-fighting operations.

Despite the alleviating impact of recent rainfall on fire control, the unsanctioned presence of the public in the restricted areas presents a fresh hurdle in efforts to bring the fire completely under control. Recent flare-ups underscore the urgency of maintaining extreme caution.

Councillor for the Natural Environment, Blanca Pérez, emphasised that grade 3 restrictions are in effect in several mountainous municipalities, banning all outdoor fires, treks on forest trails, and mountain stays. “This is fundamentally about public safety, and that’s why surveillance has been ratcheted up in collaboration with state security services,” Pérez stated.

Pérez strongly advised against mountain excursions, citing multiple hazards including falling rocks and trees. She reiterated that both the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands’ Special Civil Protection and Emergency Plan for Forest Fires (INFOCA) and the Island Territorial Emergency Plan (PEIN) remain active.

Rain aids taming of Tenerife blaze, but hikers hinder progress.

Tenerife: fire-ban enforced

The grade 3 measures imposed by the Island Council in fire-affected municipalities prohibit outdoor fires, including in recreational spaces. It also forbids walking on forest trails and mountain stays, the use of pyrotechnics, and operating machinery that can produce sparks. Motorised recreational activities on forest trails are also prohibited. Only in Güímar and Fasnia is hunting currently allowed.

Firefighting Update

Yesterday’s rainfall prompted a temporary halt in aerial operations, shifting focus to subterranean surveillance and control to prevent re-ignition. The ground crew, comprising 31 members, alongside coordination and logistics personnel, continue to work cautiously due to risks posed by the rainfall, such as minor landslides.

Plans to designate catastrophe zone

The central government is contemplating declaring the areas affected by the fire—spanning more than 14,700 hectares—a catastrophe zone. Acting President Pedro Sánchez had foreshadowed this during a recent visit to Arafo.

Regarding financial assessments, the Island Council estimates preliminary damages at €80.4 million, exclusive to Island Corporation infrastructure, forest regeneration, and Teide National Park. A more accurate figure will be determined once the fire is fully under control.

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