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CANARY ISLANDS

Canary Islands: Eight thousand evacuated as wildfire rages across Gran Canaria

A raging wildfire on the Spanish holiday island of Gran Canaria forced the evacuation of some 8,000 people, authorities said on Monday, warning it could take days for the blaze to be brought under control

Canary Islands: Eight thousand evacuated as wildfire rages across Gran Canaria
Photos: AFP

The fire, which has spread to the mountainous Cruz de Tejeda region popular with tourists for its breathtaking views, is “extremely fierce” and “unstable”, said Canary Islands president Angel Victor Torres in a statement.

No fatalities have been reported.   

More than 700 firefighters and 16 aircraft battled to contain the flames, hampered by strong winds and high temperatures.

With the temperature set to rise Monday, authorities estimate it could take days before the blaze is brought under control.

“The next few hours will be very important because the weather forecast for the night is not good,” Torres said.

The fire broke out days after another wildfire in the same region forced the evacuation of hundreds.

Gran Canaria is the second most populous of the Canary Islands in theAtlantic off the northwest coast of Africa.

The Canary Islands received 13.7 million foreign visitors last year, over half of them from Britain and Germany.

Spain is frequently plagued by huge forest fires because of its arid summer climate.

READ ALSO: Most of Spain on alert for wildfire risk as temperatures soar

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WEATHER

Spain urges holidaymakers to head home early due to snow and strong wind warnings

Nine Spanish regions were put on alert on Tuesday for heavy snow, rain and strong winds, with the country's traffic authorities calling for people taking holidays this long weekend to head home early to avoid the worst of the bad weather.

Spain urges holidaymakers to head home early due to snow and strong wind warnings
Vehicles stuck in traffic due to a heavy snowfall near Burgos, northern Spain, in March 2021. Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP

Aragón, Castilla y León, Catalonia, Navarra and the Basque Country will be on orange alert from Tuesday for snow storms, while Asturias, Cantabria, La Rioja and La Comunidad Valenciana are on the less-severe yellow alert, Spain’s State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) announced.

A slight increase in temperatures will increase the risk of avalanches in the Pyrenees and the central Cantabrian mountain range.

Some roads in the north of the country are already being affected by snow and are being restricted to some traffic such as trucks and heavy vehicles.

Spain’s traffic authority (DGT) called on residents in the northern half of the country to return early from the puente (long weekend) marked by the public holidays of December 6 and 8, ahead of heavy snow forecast for Wednesday.

Of the 108 main roads affected by the heavy snow in Spain, almost half of them are in the northeastern region Aragón.

Aragón, Catalonia and Navarra are at risk of avalanches, according to data from Aemet, while a storm warning has been issued for the coastal areas of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, Catalonia and the Basque country.

Heavy rainfall is expected in Galicia, extending to Cantabria and the western Pyrenees.

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