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Ongoing Gran Canaria fire now bigger than last week and continues to advance

Ongoing Gran Canaria fire now bigger than last week and continues to advance

The latest fire has already affected the highest points of the municipalities of Tejeda, Valleseco, Moya, Gáldar, San Mateo and Santa María de Guía

The priority is now focused on “guaranteeing the safety of people” stressed the president of the Canary Islands

The area affected by this new Gran Canaria fire, which began on Saturday 17 August, in the Barranco del Andén, in the municipality of Valleseco, has already exceeded 1,500 hectares and continues to advance on several fronts, according to the president of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, who stressed that the fire is currently “not contained, stabilised nor controlled.”

In this situation, with an active fire “tremendously virulent that seriously affects Gran Canaria” and with extremely adverse weather conditions, with temperatures in the shade hitting about 40ºC, low relative humidity of less than 30% and winds of over 30 kmph, fire control is made most difficult,” Torres stressed that the priority is now focused on “guaranteeing the safety of people as the environmental damage is already done”.

We want this to end without any human damage,” said the Canary Islands president. Therefore, he insisted that the fire-affected areas not be visited under any circumstances and that the instructions of security forces and fire fighters be strictly followed in the face of large evacuations, now totalling more than 4000 people.

“The evolution of the fire,” Torres explained, “forces us to keep the Contingency Plan active in case of new evacuations” which will be decided by the progress of the fire. So far,  about 40 urban centres of various municipalities have been evacuated and the numbers could still grow.

Throughout the day today more than 600 land troops are working in the area, in shifts of about 300 people acting as the first line of combat against walls of flame and heat. Added to this are eleven aircraft (nine helicopters, an air tractor and a seaplane) that have discharging water throughout the morning mainly in areas that cannot be accessed by land, all under the aerial coordination of the Guardia Civil helicopter.

This aerial operation will be increased throughout today with a new seaplane whose arrival is scheduled this afternoon as well as two others that have been requested from the Government of Spain.

The next few hours are crucial since the weather forecast is not good for tonight and there is a danger that the blaze could enter a large area of pine trees.

The smoke from Gran Canaria is again visible from space

The smoke from Gran Canaria is again visible from space

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