Forest fire in Tenerife is under control

by Lorraine Williamson
Tenerife forest fire

SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE – After nine days of battling a devastating forest fire, the government of the Canary Islands confirmed on Friday that the fire in Tenerife is under control. 

The fire, which began in the early morning of August 16, has burnt 14,700 hectares of land, equivalent to 7.1% of the area of the largest of the Canary Islands. With this magnitude, it is the most damaging fire that has raged in Spain in 2023. Moreover, it is the most devastating ever in the Canary Islands. 

Related: Tenerife is struggling with a massive out-of-control wildfire  

Tenerife forest fire stabilised

During a press conference on Thursday evening, president of the Canary Islands, Fernando Clavijo, announced the flames had been stabilised. He further indicated that there were no more evacuees. However, due to the ongoing heat on the island, he did warn of potential “minor flare-ups” in the affected area. But, ample ground and aerial resources are available to intervene decisively. Clavijo also emphasised the need for caution over the upcoming weekend and advised people to avoid the mountains unless absolutely necessary. 

He thanked the citizens for their exemplary behaviour and commended the firefighting team for their excellent work. Clavijo acknowledged the solidarity of the other islands and the Spanish government, which provided essential resources to stabilise the fire. He mentioned that assessments of environmental damage and economic impacts will begin soon. 

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Caution remains necessary due to heat 

Rosa Dávila, the president of the provincial government of Tenerife, confirmed that the fire was stabilised. However, it is not yet fully under control. Consequently, she urged the public to remain cautious, especially given the high-temperature warnings. 

No personal Injuries or burned homes 

With the stabilisation of the fire, which authorities believe was set deliberately, there will be a gradual reduction in resource deployment. On Friday, 195 ground troops and 16 aircraft will be working in the area. Dávila pointed out that had the fire not been addressed quickly, it might have spread over 33,000 hectares and could have affected up to 15,000 homes. Thankfully, there have been no fatalities and no homes have been lost. 

Pedro Martínez, head of the Forest Service, noted that while the fire is no longer expanding, it could take “a lot of time” before the fire is fully under control because of its vast perimeter. 

Related: Tenerife has lost a third of its forested area to the fire 

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