The recent news has attracted worldwide attention: after previous fires in Greece, Hawaii and La Palma, Tenerife is now also facing a devastating forest fire.
The fire, believed to have started on the evening of August 15 near Arafo in northeastern Tenerife, has now destroyed more than 2,600 hectares of land within a radius of 31 kilometers. Six municipalities in the north have now been affected, including Arafo, Candelaria, Santa Úrsula, La Matanza, El Rosario and La Orotava.
Helicopters and firefighting planes have been deployed to fight the fire from the air, while ground crews are fighting their way through densely forested mountainslopes to bring the fire under control. Evacuations of endangered areas have been initiated to ensure the safety of residents.
The number of evacuees has now risen to approximately 7,600 persons, and there is a possibility that this number will increase further. For those who cannot find accommodation with family or friends, several sports complexes are made available, such as Punta Larga in the municipality of Candelaria and the sports complex of La Orotava, Pabellón Quiquirá.
Fernando Clavijo, the president of the Canary Islands, stressed that firefighting efforts are effective, but adverse weather conditions are complicating operations. This fire is considered the most complex incident of the past 40 years.
Impact on tourism
Meanwhile, the messages are pouring in. Those at home are concerned about family and friends who holiday in Tenerife (or live there). International media reports, with or without sensational headlines, about the devastating fire, which means that we too are inundated with calls from worried family members.
This can be particularly disturbing for those who are less familiar with the geographical location of the affected areas on the island.
Many tour operators are probably inundated with questions: “Should we also be evacuated? Is there an emergency plan? Can we still fly home safely?”
It is important to know that the tourist areas are far beyond the reach of the fire and are functioning normally. So there is no need to panic if you are currently on holiday in Tenerife. Or about to travel to Tenerife.
Please note that until further notice, all access roads to the Parque Nacional del Teide are closed. This measure is not only for safety reasons, but also not to hinder the ongoing rescue work
A call to all readers who are currently holidaying in Tenerife: please follow the instructions of the local authorities. Cooperate where possible so that emergency responders quickly get this disaster under control.
You can safely continue to enjoy your holiday. Stay informed through reliable sources. A good source is the local press, such as Diario de Avisos. In any case, don't get riled up by sensational headlines from some international media.
We hope that the fire will be under control soon and that the evacuees can return home safely.
Stay safe and ¡Hasta Pronto!