A forest fire has been raging in the hills of Tenerife since yesterday (15th July) afternoon. The fire started at approximately 1500 hours yesterday in the areas of Ifonche, Tijoco Alto and Tejina and was moving westward late last night. Winds have changed overnight and now the fire is spreading eastwards past Adeje on to Arona and towards Villaflor.
Thick smoke, ash and smouldering embers have been bellowing out of the affected areas all of last night and today. All 3 police departments, the Fire Brigade – both regular and voluntary have been deployed. The picture above is from last night as the fire took hold of the forest in the hills. No work can be carried out over night as it is too dangerous, so it has to be left to burn and the following morning the rescue forces have to start again.
Villagers in local towns close to the fires have been evacuated and others have been told to be prepared to take children, belongings and animals to safer ground.
The picture above shows the fire alight during last night above the evening lights of Torviscas.
Changing winds have hindered the extinguishing operation and the lack of helicopters has delayed emergency services assistance. Today, Monday 16th, 6 helicopters have been in the air, carrying water from reservoirs, which are already low on water thanks to the dry Winter and Spring this year, and have been depositing the water on the fires from buckets under their bellies.
The latest news on the Spanish channels says that Spanish air crews from Seville are readying themselves for the trip down in fire busting sea planes, which we are hoping will arrive tomorrow lunchtime. A recent media announcement says that everything is under control, but from what we can see in Los Cristianos, it still looks to be very much out of control.
The first pictures of the aftermath are being put up onto the social networking sites, this one being from Facebook showing one area near Adeje which was devastated last night.
Today showed no let up as it seemed that there were a number of smaller fires on the hills above Adeje as you can see from this picture taken from La Caleta at lunchtime.
And this one taken from our terrace at 2120 hours showing the smoke rising…but seemingly going in the opposite direction again. Here in Los Cristianos we are getting the first smell of the smoke, people in Chayofa are reporting smoke coming in through their open windows and the nearer people are to the fire hot ash and embers are falling onto their gardens.
It has been said that the fires, probably 3 to start with, were started intentionally and Police and Guardia Civil are looking into the possibility. Tonight we hear that another fire is being fought on the nearby island of La Palma, they have now called their helicopters back and there is very recent news of another forest fire that has started in La Gomera.
It is reported by local television that 1.800 hectares of forest and land has been affected and its Flora and Fauna are clearly going to be devastated during this awful time, but we hope for a swift and safe conclusion to the fire.
More news on the forest fire in Tenerife will follow as and when we get it.