Emergency Evacuations as Wildfire Resurfaces Amidst Sweltering Conditions

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  • Post last modified:October 5, 2023

In response to a reignited wildfire fuelled by scorching temperatures and strong winds, approximately 3,000 residents of Tenerife, a Spanish island, have been forced to evacuate their homes.

The fire, which initially ignited on Wednesday, has primarily impacted communities in the northeast of the island, sparing the main tourist hubs. This blaze is a resurgence of the same fire that devastated the region in August.

Spanish military forces have been deployed to assist in battling the wildfire and ensuring the safety of affected residents. Rosa Davila, the president of the Tenerife Council, expressed hope that employing helicopters in firefighting efforts on Thursday would help stabilise the situation.

As a precautionary measure, a significant number of individuals have been evacuated from Santa Ursula and La Orotava, as confirmed by the local government.

Expressing their ordeal, a resident shared, “I was working and my mother called to say the fire was very close – it was insane.” Another resident voiced concerns about the increasing frequency of such events, stating, “Now I think that every time there is a dust storm or the temperature is too high I will have to evacuate my house.”

The Canary Islands, including Tenerife, have been on high alert due to a heightened risk of wildfires caused by unusually high temperatures in recent days. While authorities managed to gain control over the August blaze, it was never fully extinguished, ultimately leading to the present resurgence.

The August wildfire endured for days, leaving behind a trail of destruction, consuming thousands of hectares of forest around the iconic Mount Teide volcano, Spain’s tallest peak.

This episode highlights the escalating impact of climate change, manifesting through more frequent, intense, and prolonged heatwaves. With global temperatures already up by about 1.1C since the industrial era began, urgent and significant cuts to emissions worldwide are essential to curb the relentless rise in temperatures.

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