canary islands

Tenerife wildfire shows no signs of letting up: escalates to level 2, prompting new evacuations

The rekindling of the Tenerife fire has led to the mobilization of the Emergency Unit and the evacuation of 110 people from their homes in the highlands of El Sauzal.

The Island Council of Tenerife took the precautionary measure of evacuating approximately 123 residents living in the areas of Las Calderetas, Campo de Tiro, and Carril del Polvo, situated in Ravelo (El Sauzal), due to the resurgence of the island’s forest fire. Additionally, around 500 dogs from the Adepac shelter and 50 horses were relocated. The combination of intense heat and daytime winds also triggered reactivations in Santa Úrsula and La Orotava.

Due to the unfavorable developments in the El Sauzal reactivation of the fire at 15:00, the Island Councilof Tenerife requested that the Government of the Canary Islands declare Infoca level 2, which involves the takeover of emergency management. The Military Emergency Unit (UME) has been activated to contribute to firefighting efforts.

Rosa Dávila, the President of the Island Council de Tenerife, reported multiple reactivations in the forest fire that had been affecting the island since August 15, even though it was at Infoca level 1 since the previous Friday. These reactivations occurred in the municipalities of Santa Úrsula, El Sauzal, and La Orotava due to the high temperatures and wind.

Initially, evacuees were directed to the El Sauzal Pavilion, with plans to later relocate them to hotels. In addition, approximately 500 dogs from the Adepac shelter and 50 horses found new accommodations at the Casa del Ganadero (La Laguna).

Tenerife wildfire shows no signs of letting up: escalates to level 2, prompting new evacuations.

Throughout the day, ten helicopters were deployed to combat the fire, with two more aircraft from the Canary Islands Government joining the efforts in the afternoon after the significant reactivation in Ravelo. Approximately 90 troops on the ground, including forest brigades from the Island Council, BRIF La Palma, EIRIF from the Government of the Canary Islands, and firefighters from the Tenerife Consortium, were fighting the flames. Starting from 21:00, UME troops and reinforcements from the Consorcio de Bomberos joined to protect homes.

The decision to raise the emergency level was made due to the limitations of helicopter operations during the night and concerns about forecasted winds with gusts potentially reaching 50 or 60 km/h. This raised the risk of further reactivations, which could threaten residential areas.

Pedro Martínez, head of the Island Council’s Forestry Management technical service, explained that the recent reactivations were caused by high temperatures and wind conditions, which triggered these sporadic outbreaks. Although the fire began on August 15 and was partially controlled on September 11, it has not been considered fully extinguished due to the emergence of numerous new outbreaks, particularly in recent weeks.

Martínez emphasized the risk of fire pockets spreading into unburned areas close to inhabited regions. Hence, resource deployment aimed to prevent such an expansion.

Victoria Palma, a physicist, meteorologist, and technical advisor in Security and Emergencies, indicated that east-southeast winds were expected during the night, accompanied by downward breezes and significant gusts of 50 to 60 km/h, unfavorable conditions for firefighting. She also noted that high temperatures would persist until Sunday, with a slight decrease starting from Thursday.

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