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Climate Change

Wildfire in Spanish tourist island of Tenerife deliberate, state officials

August 22, 2023 4:35 PM IST

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A wildfire raging on the Spanish tourist island of Tenerife was started deliberately, said Canary Islands regional President Fernando Clavijo after police confirmed it. According to Clavijo, police had opened three lines of investigation, however, nothing was confirmed about any arrests being made.

A wildfire broke in a mountainous national park around the Mount Teide volcano – Spain’s highest peak – amid hot and dry weather, on Wednesday, August 16. It burned through nearly 4,000 hectares (9,900 acres) of vegetation, blanketing the island with smoke and ash.

By Friday, August 18, the blaze slowed its advance due to efforts from firefighters and improvement in weather conditions. In a news conference, Tenerife governor Rosa Dávila said that the night was very difficult but thanks to the work of the firefighters, the results have been very positive.”

More than 12,000 people have been evacuated from their homes as a precautionary measure. 11,600 hectares (29,000 acres) of pine forest and scrubland had been burned. However, there has been no report of burning of houses.

The Canary Islands have been in drought for most of the past few years, just like most of mainland Spain. The islands have recorded below-average rainfall in recent years because of changing weather patterns impacted by climate change.

One of the worst fires in decades in Tenerife, threat is lurking on 11 town areas. Further, the air quality of 19 town areas was also recorded as not good, forcing people to stay indoor.

Spain is bracing heat wave. On Tenerife, the Spain’s state weather service has predicted maximum temperatures averaging 30 C (86F) for the coming week. Earlier, it took 250 firefighters and nine aircraft to control a wildfire that burnt 400 hectares of woodland on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria. Further, on 10 August 2023, València airport, in Spain recorded 46.8°C (116°F). This beats the previous all-time heat record by over 3°C.

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