Approximately 250 firefighters have been battling a wildfire raging “out of control” on Spain’s holiday island of Tenerife that forced road closures and the evacuation of five villages, officials said.
The fire, which broke out on Tuesday night, was raging through a forested area with steep ravines in the northeastern part of the island, part of the Canary Islands archipelago off northwestern Africa.
“The fire is out of control, the scenario is not exactly very positive,” the head of the regional government, Fernando Clavijo, said at a news conference in Tenerife late on Wednesday.
“Our goal is for it to stop gaining ground. It was a very hard day,” he said.
Approximately 250 firefighters backed by 13 planes and helicopters, including three sent from mainland Spain, worked to contain the fire in an area difficult to reach, Clavijo said.
He said the flames had so far burned about 1,800 hectares (4,450 acres).
The villages of Arrate, Chivisaya, Media Montana, Ajafona and Las Lagunetas were evacuated on Wednesday morning as a precaution because of thick smoke.
Local authorities have cut off roads leading to the mountains on the northeastern part of the island.
“We ask that the population respect all these cuts,” said the head of the archipelago’s civil protection service, Montserrat Roman.
The wildfire comes after the Canary Islands were hit by a heatwave that has left many areas tinder dry, increasing the risk of wildfires.
As global temperatures rise over time, heatwaves are predicted to become more frequent and intense, and their impacts more widespread.