May 21, 2024

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CANARY ISLANDS: “Flames out of control” – hundreds of people forced to evacuate their homes

CANARY ISLANDS: “Flames out of control” – hundreds of people forced to evacuate their homes

Canary Islands

“Containment flames” – hundreds of people have to leave their homes

Hundreds of people have been forced to flee the flames on the island, which saw a month-long volcanic eruption in 2021. Weather conditions have not played into the firefighters’ hands, but they are still optimistic.

Updated

A huge fire is currently raging in La Palma.

20 min/dc

  • In 2021, thousands of people were evacuated from La Palma due to a volcanic eruption.

  • A fire is now spreading across the island, which has already destroyed many homes.

  • Hundreds of people have already been brought to safety.

Around 500 people had to leave their homes when a forest fire broke out on the Canary Island of La Palma. Fernando Clavijo, regional head of Spain’s Canary Islands, said on Saturday that at least 11 homes had been destroyed in the 1.4 square kilometers that had burned so far.

Wind makes fire fighting difficult

“With the resources we’re putting in, we believe we can contain the fire today, but the wind is changing,” Clavijo said. The flame is currently “out of control”. Coupled with the dryness of the terrain and lack of rainfall, high gusty winds are expected, making the situation “complicated”. Reports said the fire broke out in a hilly and wooded area west of La Palma with more houses. This area is not directly affected by the 2021 volcanic eruption.

The Spanish army sent 150 of its firefighters to help local groups put out the blaze. Other firefighters from the region were brought in by boat from the neighboring island of Tenerife, Clavijo said.

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There has been insufficient rainfall for many years

Puntagorda Mayor Vicente Rodríguez told broadcaster RTVE that the fire started within the boundaries of his municipality. In terms of changing weather patterns as a result of climate change, the region has experienced below-average rainfall in recent years, as has much of drought-stricken Spain.

The fire also coincided with a heat wave in southern Europe. Last year and this spring, Spain experienced record temperatures. Officials and forest experts are concerned that the conditions will encourage more difficult fires. The country was already battling severe fires in March.

La Palma has about 85,000 inhabitants. The Canary Islands are off the west coast of Africa. The islands are the closest to the mainland, about 100 kilometers from Morocco.

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(DPA/bho)See comments