On Thursday, Spanish authorities deployed army troops to the island of Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, to confront a forest fire that regained strength after having devastated thousands of hectares in August. About 150 people, including 60 members of the Military Emergency Unit (UME) with 26 vehicles, were working hard to contain the fire in the northeast of the island. The reactivation of the flames, fanned by the heat and wind, caused the evacuation of about 3,000 people in Santa Úrsula and another 200 in La Orotava.
This fire, which began on August 15 and was declared under control in September after devastating approximately 15,000 hectares, has once again threatened local communities. Tenerife’s insular emergency director, Iván Martín, pointed out that, although the fire had been controlled, it was never completely extinguished. High temperatures on the island, which reached 40 degrees in some areas, complicated firefighters’ efforts.
Despite the initial scare, the winds gave a respite to firefighters on Thursday morning, facilitating their operations, although it was expected that they could regain intensity in the afternoon. Fortunately, the fire has not yet affected the tourist areas of the island, and the airports operate normally.
This incident highlights the ongoing challenges facing wildfire-prone regions and the importance of adequate preparation, coordination, and resources to respond effectively to these natural emergencies.