Gran Canaria is being ravaged by a huge fire, forcing authorities to evacuate 2,000 tourists and locals from the Spain holiday destination. Those near the town of Valleseco and the village of Tejeda had to flee to safety last night as the third fire in eight days in the region blazed in the central part of the island. Among those evacuated were guests who were staying at the Hotel Parador de Cruz de Tejeda in the heart of the zone where the fire is blazing. The Government has declared a level one emergency and emergency services are battling the inferno from the sky and ground. This is the latest travel advice.
Given the popularity of the Spain island as a holiday destination for Britons – how safe is it to travel?
While the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not issued a travel warning to Spain, the FCO has reviewed its information on the risk of forest fires.
“Forest fires occur frequently in Spain (including Spanish islands) during the summer months,” states the FCO.
“Take care when visiting or driving through woodland areas. Make sure cigarette ends are properly extinguished, don’t light barbecues and don’t leave empty bottles behind.
“You should be aware that causing a forest fire is treated as a criminal offence in Spain even if unintentional. If you see the on-set of a forest fire, call the emergency services on 112.”
According to Euro Weekly News, hotels in the coastal tourism resorts on Gran Canaria are said to be in no danger from the fire.
The Twitter account of Gran Canaria’s Security and Emergency department tweeted that the residents of the town of Fontanales and Hoya del Cavadero have been evicted from their homes.
They also tweeted a photo of security and emergency services meeting to “assess the work of the troops during the last hours and the evolution of the fire.”
Shocking images show plumes of smoke engulfing the area as emergency services battle the blaze.
Seven helicopters and a Hydro plane carrying huge buckets of water have been deployed to the forests, as soaring temperatures threaten to spread the fires.
Gran Canaria is currently on orange alert for very high temperatures and the president of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Antonio Morales, has expressed fears the wind will change the direction of the fire and expand it tonight.
Just eight days ago 1,000 people were forced to flee after another fire broke out on the island.
More than 200 firefighters were drafted in to tackle the horrific blaze which struck the village of Ingenio, located 20 miles from the capital Las Palmas. The terrifying fire covered an area of 2,500 acres.
Police said last week they believed the fire was started by someone using a soldering iron. A 55-year-old man was arrested on Saturday in connection with the blaze.
Spain is the world’s second most popular tourist destination but is frequently plagued by huge forest fires because of its arid climate in summer.
In further Gran Canara news, Ryanair workers will stage a ten-day strike in September. The announcement, sure to cause misery for holidaymakers, will operate across 13 Spanish airports after the budget airline, run by Michael O’Leary, announced the closure of bases in the Canary Islands.
The unions have claimed the intent of the action is to “prevent the closure of the bases of Gran Canaria, Tenerife South and Girona, as well as the dismissals that come from those closures.”