Tasarte fires have Gran Canaria on high alert throughout the night
So far the fires on the west of Gran Canaria, in the area around the village of Tasarte, have burned at least 150 hectares however official sources are now saying that about 60% of the blaze has been brought under control.
An active front continues to advance through the upper parts of the affected zone, where several houses have burned, and work is continuing so that the flames do not travel down the next ravine and reach the nearby village of Tasartico.
The UME emergency military unit was called in earlier to support the activities of the main fire fighting teams and to aid in the coordination any large evacuations, should they become necessary.
The fire began to advance up the hill towards the natural pine forests known as Inagua on Saturday afternoon and on flank began to descent towards Tasartico, which prevented a general evacuation of the local resident population. Residents of Tasarte were advised to stay in their homes as a preventative measure, as the rapid rise of the blaze and its potential to grow meant the fire crews did not want to create an unnecessary incident in such an unpredictable situation. A fire fighting team known as Presa4 has been credited with managing to stop the Inagua front and lowering the intensity of the fires progression.
The GC200 road remains closed between Veneguera and La Aldea with a front still active on the north of the affected zone, travelling in the direction of La Aldea de San Nicolas, which is several kilometres away and still very much unaffected. Very strong winds continue to gust to more than 100 kmph seriously complicating efforts to bring the blaze under control, with visibility at less than a 1000 m in places fire crews are taking no chances having had to abort several manoeuvres due to the potential of fire teams becoming trapped. There remains a very real danger that this fire could jump from where it is currently being held back, leaping a 500m gap, which could lead it to reach La Aldea or perhaps worse the pine forests of Inagua, which could give the fire access to the centre of the island, which suffered so much last summer. Fire crews can do little more than try to direct and contain the path of the flames until the weather conditions improve. All our thoughts are with them.
The Cabildo de Gran Canaria. island government, have already asked members of the public to take precautions if anywhere near fire, or working with machinery that could emit sparks or with anything else that could ignite further fires, given the current alert in the Canary Islands for Calima, the rising temperatures and very strong winds, while evacuation of Tasarte is still on the cards and may also be recommend in Tasartico, nearby La Aldea have prepared a facility to receive any local residents who may have been affected or who need to leave their homes under the guidance of local fire crews.
Members of the public in the local area are asked to be vigilant and prepared, to close doors and windows, move away from windows and evacuate their homes as and when requested by those responsible for extinguishing this fire.