Fires rage out of control on the sacred mountains of Gran Canaria
The Cabildo de Gran Canaria has closed several roads at the top of the island due to the fire declared on Saturday afternoon.
People who are in Artenara can only leave the municipality by the following routes: the GC-215 or GC-217 down the Los Pérez dam and access the GC-220 or the GC-210 towards La Aldea.
Risco Caído and the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria was declared a World Heritage Site only last month by Unesco, the fire currently raging at the summits endanger that important world heritage. It appears the carelessness of a 55-year-old man from Telde, working in the area of Las Arbejas, in Artenara, who was welding on a day when temperatures soared to 30ºC in the shade and light winds started to pick up during the afternoon, led to fire in the hills and evacuations of summit populations around Artenara, the highest altitude village on the island.
Video from one of the helicopters of the area taken approx 10, this morning.
Posted by TheCanary.TV on Sunday, August 11, 2019
During the day the blaze had spread through the confluence of five municipalities at the summits. The Cabildo last night requested the evacuation of the area known as Peña Rajada, a community of around 10 homes, sending residents to the nearby safety of the Tejeda refuge shelter; followed then by residents of El Tablado and Las Peñas, in Gáldar. 15% of the affected perimeter remained active as the day turned to night, with more than 112 hectares of burned area, between scrubland and pine forests.
The latest reports at sundown on Saturday seemed to suggest the fire was in the control phase, though teams had not yet stabilised all the perimeters. The main area of concern was a possible spread from the higher altitude zones of the Artenara and Tejeda mountain range, an area that is near inaccessible, with many levels meaning it can only be tackled from the air
Military Emergency Units then had to be called in around midnight for the evacuation of the Barranco de Peña Rajada (GC-210, at kilometer 3), where there are almost a dozen houses, due to the persistence burning embers jumping the fire breaks causing secondary fires to break out, which then quickly burned out of control.
Ten airbourne firefighting craft have been deployed this morning means to join the effort to fight the forest fires that now affects an area of more than 1000 hectares (250+ acres) in the central and northern municipalities of Artenara, Tejeda and Gáldar , according to CECOES the Canary Islands Emergency and Security Coordination Centre .
These include nine helicopters from various administrations ( State, Government of the Canary Islands and Cabildo de Gran Canaria ) and an airplane known as the Hidroavion, based out of Seville, has been requested also.
More than two hundred troops are working to put out the fire and through the night more than 30 army troops from the Military Emergency Unit were brought in to assist and coordinate tasks.
According to CECOES , the flanks of the fire are moving towards the Tejeda Basin and the ancient forest at the Pinar de Tamadaba.
The fire started about 12 o’clock yesterday in the area of Juncalillo, in the municipality of Artenara, a 55-year-old man has been arrested by the Civil Guard, though it is believed the incident was unintentional, carelessness is thought to have led to the current situation.
Although initially it was thought that the fire had been rapidly brought under control, within 6 hours 85 percent of its perimeter was reported stable, during the night various foci have been revived and the fire has burned out of control.
A dozen small population centres have been evacuated during the night as a preventive measure due to their proximity of the inferno.
By last night, a level 2 emergency had already been declared, which is the second highest level of alert.