A forrest fire has broken out in Ifonche, in the municipality of Adeje, South Tenerife and is spreading. It began on farm land aproximately 6km above the village of Arona. Many people have been evacuated as a safety precaution.
Emergency services have helicopters fighting the fire, all roads approaching the area have been closed by the police.
The severe lack of rain to Tenerife over the past months causing tinder dry land is hampering the fire fighters; helicopters are now taking water from resevoirs near Escalona.Update 20:15
Residents of Taucho are being advised by the Guardia Civl to evacuate. Helicopters will have to stop flying once it is dark.Update 21:30
Fire now spreading rapidly. Taucho residents now being told to evacuate.Update 23:30
There are 3 fires. The one near the Barranco del Infierno is under control, the second near Vilaflor is calming down but the third above Taucho is moving fast towards the Guia de Isora boundary and looks like it is heading towards Chigurgue. The army has been called in now. Update 16.7.12 9am (the following is from Island Connections)
Four water-dumping helicopters were deployed for several hours in a frantic attempt to put out the blaze before it reached the dense woodland further up the hills towards Mt Teide. Soon after the fire broke out, dozens of residents of the Taucho, Las Lajas, La Quinta and Ifonche districts were evacuated as a precaution. A dozen hikers located by one of the helicopters in the Barranco del Infierno were also escorted to safety from a very dangerous situtation. The risk of major complications led the authorities to request assistance from the army's special Emergencies Unit and responsibility for handling the worsening situation was transferred from island level to the regional government. Some of the evacuated residents, including several ex-pat families, have been put up temporarily in a sports hall, while hotels, bars and supermarkets in the Adeje area have offered to assist with food and shelter both for other evacuees and the teams fighting the fire. Local companies have also supplied tractors, diggers, water tanks etc. Between 900 and 1,000 hectares have already been reduced to ashes and the high temperatures expected today means that the forecast is still serious and the alert has now been declared as a '3', its highest level, although the lack of winds should help in containing the fire.
Update 16 .7.12 17:00
Temperatures in this current heat wave have now escalated to 40 degrees and are hampering the emergency services. There are now over 200 emergency workers concentrating on protecting the most populated areas, Tijoco Alto and Vilaflor, which are in danger of being in the pathway of the raging fires. The emergency has now been raised to level 3 and officials are concerned that the “chimney effect” created by the many barrancos in the area will allow the fire to jump across fire breaks and open up other fronts.
Residents of Guia de Isora are no longer in danger as the fire did not cross the Erques ravine. The main concern now is the out of control fire front is now being blown towards the Teide National park and towards the village of Villaflor. An estimated total of 1,800 hectares is affected.
There are now 7 helicopters battling the flames.
The TF28 and TF31 roads from Boca de Tauce to Chio and from Vilaflor to Boca de Tauce are now closed to the public.
A second fire which is burning near Trevejos is now contained but still not under control.
Online news updates and video - in Spanish - can be seen on http://www.rtvc.es/television/enDirecto.aspx?canal=tv
Another fire has broken out on the Island of La Palma and has has now been declared a level 2 fire, one fire-fighter has been taken to hospital with minor burns. A Fire truck and car destroyed...Update 16.7.12 9pm
Fire on Island of La Palma is still out of control.
Another fire on the Island of La Gomera is being reported now in Alojera, which is in the municipality of Vallehermoso. The fire is heading towards the coast to an inhabited area. Strong winds are spreading the flames quickly.
There is much concern at the moment for Villaflor here on Tenerife. Flames are spreading fast. Emergency services are urging spectators to stay out of the way as they are only adding to the problems. See second picture below.Update 17.7.12 8am
(source Island Connections, including photo 3)
First light this morning saw hydroplanes flown in from the mainland to join the efforts to halt the fire in south Tenerife, which is proving much tougher to put out than expected.
The combination of winds above 30 kmh and temperatures in the high 30s seriously complicated yesterday's efforts to prevent the blaze from continuing further upwards through the pine forests and into the Teide National Park area.
Firebreaks put in place brought some success in terms of containment but the battle is by no means over, the island authorities admitted last night. An area of almost 2000 hectares has already been affected by the fire, with nearly 50% very badly burnt, according to latest reports. Tenerife Cabildo chief Ricardo Melchior said yesterday that the early signs are that the fire may well have been started deliberately, given that more than one origin has been identified by investigators.
In addition to the Tenerife blaze, two other fires were also being fought late yesterday: one in El Paso, La Palma, and the other in Alojera, La Gomera, where 60 families had to be evacuatedUpdate 17.7.12 5pm
(Source Tenerife News)
According to municipal sources, the fire, already blazing in the Teide National Park, has now reached the town of La Orotava, bordering Llano Ucanca.
The City of La Orotava is working to try to control the fire. This morning two fire fighting vehicles and several local police officers from La Orotava were sent as extra help to try to get the fire under control.
More trucks have been mobilized through individual companies to help put out the fire in the National Park.
The La Orotava Municipal Emergency Committee is taking all necessary precautions and has recommended that people do not go up to Las Cañadas and local police have cut access roads from El Portillo.Update 18.7.12 9am
(source Island Connections)
Residents of Vilaflor who were evacuated yesterday as the big fire in south Tenerife moved ever closer to the town have joined the growing criticism of the authorities for their handling of the blaze effort.
Some 1800 residents of the picturesque historic town were urged to leave and move down to safer areas as an estimated five hundred people fought to contain the flames. The fire, which began on Sunday, has now affected four separate towns and parts of the Teide National Park.
The authorities are confident that the hydroplanes brought in from mainland Spain to tackle the blaze will be more effective today after wind and choppy seas hampered the attempts to fill their massive buckets with seawater from Las Cristianos harbour yesterday.
Among those to criticise the coordination of the fire effort is Pedro Martín, mayor of Guía de Isora, who is demanding explanations for the delay in sending helicopters to his town when the flames were clearly heading that way.
The TF583, T585 and TF21 roads remain closed to the public.
The upper limit of the fire which was threatening the Teide National Park is under control.
In La Palma and La Gomera islands the fires are officially under control.