Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain, Aug 17 (EFE).- Firefighters in Tenerife were battling one of the worst ever blazes to hit the Canary Islands, the regional president said Thursday.
The fire, which has been raging since Tuesday, has led to 7,600 people being ordered to evacuate their homes, Fernando Calvijo said.
“Last night was very difficult, and fears that this fire could get out of control have become a reality,” Calvijo said, adding that the blaze was the worst on the archipelago “in at least in the last 40 years, if not ever.”
Sparks of burning material caused by the fire were being swept up by the wind and causing smaller blazes in several areas, meteorologist Victoria Palma said.
Residents in the center of the town of El Rosario have been told to stay at home due to the abundant sparks produced by the fire and to clear the roads for security forces.
More than 100 soldiers have been brought in to help tackle the blaze, according to the Spanish defense ministry.
Palma said the fire, which has produced a column of smoke that is more than 6 km high, was “creating its own weather” due to the intense heat.
Tenerife is one of the most popular Spanish destinations for tourists, with a significant number of foreign citizens visiting throughout the year. EFE