Canary Islands authorities evacuate 4000 as wildfire spreads

21 Août, 2019, 01:17 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • A helicopter carries water to fight a forest fire seen in the village of Valleseco in the Canary Island of Gran Canaria
REUTERS  Borja Suarez

A wildfire in the Canary Islands led to the evacuation of a small town in Gran Canaria island on Saturday, and officials said the blaze had a "great potential" to spread.

Guests at the Hotel Parador de Cruz de Tejeda, which is in the heart of the mountainous area where the fire started, were amongst those evacuated.

Angel Victor Torres, the Canary Islands' regional president, told a news conference that the blaze was neither "contained nor stabilised or controlled".

Sixteen planes and helicopters as well as more than 1,000 firefighters are working to contain flames as high as 50 metres (164 feet), authorities said.

At least 1,500 hectares (3,700 acres) of field and low forest burned in the same area last week.

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He added he had spoken by phone with Spanish acting prime minister Pedro Sanchez to request central government help.

There were fears flames would be whipped up again by strong winds.

Wildfires are common in southern Europe during the hot, dry summer months.

Earlier in the evening, the island council said it had evacuated the Cross of Tejeda, a mountain pass popular for its spectacular views in the centre of Gran Canaria, and a nearby luxury hotel. Almost half of Spain's provinces were on alert Sunday for high risk of fires, according to the country's weather agency AEMET.

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