Fire in Spain’s Canary Islands leaves rescuers ‘fighting for our island’


Fire in Spain's Canary Islands leaves rescuers 'fighting for our island'
A helicopter takes part in the extinction works of a forest fire in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, 10 August 2019. EFE/ Elvira Urquijo A./Sipa USA

In Summary

  • President Ángel Víctor Torres said that the affected area was 1,000 hectares (about 2,500 acres). The neighborhoods concerned were from the municipalities of Artenara, Tejeda and Gáldar.
  • The fire spread on Gran Canaria, the second-most populous of the Canary Islands with just less than 900,000 people.
  • Ten aircraft and more than 200 ground troops are working to tackle the fire.

A fire raging in Spain’s Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa has prompted the evacuation of a thousand people, the islands’ President Ángel Víctor Torres said on Sunday.

Speaking at a news conference, he said that the affected area was 1,000 hectares (about 2,500 acres). The neighborhoods concerned were from the municipalities of Artenara, Tejeda and Gáldar.

The fire spread on Gran Canaria, the second-most populous of the Canary Islands with just less than 900,000 people.

Earlier on Saturday, firefighters said in Spanish they were “overwhelmed by the situation,” adding “we are fighting for our island!!!”

Video posted to social media showed firefighters on a street surrounded by the fire taking over the mountainside.

Ten aircraft and more than 200 ground troops are working to tackle the fire, Torres said. He added that local authorities have requested help from the government in Madrid and the Military Emergencies Unit in Seville.

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