A wildfire that started in a national park on the Spanish island of Tenerife has grown over 300 hectares, leading authorities to order the evacuation of five settlements and close access to the forest surrounding Mount Teide.
The fire, which began on Tuesday night, was roaring across a forested area in steep ravines in the northeastern portion of Tenerife in the Canaries, complicating the firefighters’ effort.
“The fire is powerful and is in a complicated area,” Canary Islands regional President Fernando Clavijo told a news conference in Tenerife.
“Efforts are focused on preventing the fire from spreading and affecting mainly residential areas close to the coast,” he added.
About 10 helicopters dropping water and 150 firefighters and 50 military personnel were working to contain the wildfire that could take more than a day to bring under control, authorities said.
Early on Wednesday, the fire had devastated about 130 hectares (320 acres) near the Mount Teide volcano, Spain’s highest peak. In a few hours, the fire has spread to over 300 hectares and there are many secondary fires, Pedro Martinez, head of Tenerife’s emergency services, said.
The villages of Arrate, Chivisaya, Media Montaña, Ajafoña and Las Lagunetas have been evacuated, and local authorities said further measures would be taken during the day.
Rosa Davila, president of the Tenerife council, said all access to the mountains on the island has been closed and called on residents and visitors to keep out of the forest areas because of the risk the fire will spread further.
“We are doing this to prevent any incidents,” Davila said.
During the last week, a heatwave in the Canary Islands has left many areas bone dry and increased the risk of wildfires.
This summer, firefighters have extinguished a series of forest fires on the islands of Gran Canaria and La Palma, which form part of the Canary Islands archipelago.
Tenerife’s two airports were operating normally, according to Radio Canarias, which cited the Spanish airport operator Aena.