Category: Fire

Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine

The Canary Guide #WeekendTips 31 March – 2 April 2023


 A glorious first weekend of April ahead and the beginning of the christian Holy Week “Semana Santa”, diligently observed in Spain. There will be many religious acts and processions throughout the week around the island, especially in the capital.  Don’t forget it’s also April fools’ on Saturday even though it isn’t a tradition in Spain, there will be those who will take the whimsical opportunity for some hilarity. The Mercado Inglés is on at The British Club of Las Palmas and there is also an authentic Canarian rural fair to visit this weekend in the traditional mountain market town of San Mateo.

Gran Canaria Weather: Yellow Warnings – Up to 36ºC, in the shade, expected on the south, high temperatures with strong winds and calima expected to affect all The Canary Islands this week

The Spanish State Meterological Agency, AEMET, has issued yellow warnings for heat, calima haze and strong winds this week on the Canary Islands forecasting high temperatures of up to 34ºC expected on several islands. An alert has been issued due to a risk of forest fires on Gran Canaria as the mix of dry weather, strong winds and high temperatures has led to concerns over coming days.

Wild fires Alert on Gran Canaria this Wednesday, with temperatures set to exceed 34ºC in the shade

Springtime has only just begun and already the temperatures, in the shade, on Gran Canaria have been repeatedly hitting the low to mid-thirties, which brings with it also a rising risk of Forest Fires and Wildfires.  Here in the Canary Islands forest fire crews are well versed in tackling an occasional mountain blaze, with alert levels often following the basic informal rule of thumb, the so-called 30/30/30 rule, putting the authorities on alert whenever the temperature is set to rise above 30ºC in the shade, the humidity levels drop below 30% and sustained winds are forecast at faster than 30kmph.  Common sense and preparation help the general population to avoid injury in the event of a fire taking hold.

The Canary Guide #WeekendTips 24-26 March 2023

Plum tree blossoming in Tenteniguada March 2023
It’s the last weekend of March already and Spring is here; winter is behind us and the summer weather is already hotting up on Gran Canaria. The hillsides are in full bloom, particularly up in the mountain summits; it’s Carnival Weekend in Arguineguín and the last of the carnival festivities for this year are happening around the island. With summer just around the corner, clocks Spring forward this Saturday and Sunday night when 1am becomes 2am 🕐. On the north of the island, one of the biggest seasonal trade fairs is happening, gathering produce and people from 11 municipalities, ENORTE will be celebrated in the historic Rum capital of the island, Arucas, this weekend.


Forest fires high risk season has begun on Gran Canaria

Summer has arrived and the forest fires high risk season on Gran Canaria, which means in practice until September 30, special care must be taken in all rural and forest areas, with the burning of agricultural waste totally prohibited, while any use of fireworks, barbecues and machinery that generates sparks is limited and subject to conditions.


Cabildo de Gran Canaria Councillor for the Environment, Inés Jiménez, points out that most of the forest fires declared on this island have their origins in human negligence, hence the importance of “extreme precautions and avoiding any activity that may involve risk for our mountains”, she said in a statement. “The best friend of fires, in addition to forest fuel and weather conditions, is false confidence, the belief that everything is under control and that what is being done is known about, despite the warnings,” Jiménez made clear.
When a High-Risk Forest Fire Alert is declared, which usually coincides with heat waves, strong winds, or Calima, it will not be possible to use the camping area at Llanos de la Mimbre or the Recreational Area Tamadaba (both in the municipality of Agaete), and the GC-216 circular road route through the area will be closed, except use by residents and public services. In the same way, access and transit on forest trails and tracks are also prohibited.
Although fires, generally, in the mountains are totally prohibited at all times and in any circumstances, at times of high risk of fire, that is, from July 1 to September 30, barbecues can still be used in the recreational areas that are scattered across the island, and in camping areas with barbecues such as Presa de las Niñas, Llanos de la Pez and Corral de los Juncos. These are always in brick barbecues and in kitchens using gas cylinders of less than 13 kilos, in wide-open places, where scrub clearing and tree pruning are carried out daily,  and are considered safe areas. The use of these barbecues and portable kitchens is prohibited, however, when an alert is declared.
Any machinery that generates sparks, such as radial saws and welding equipment and, to a lesser extent, chainsaws and brush cutters, can be used in summer but always with a series of conditions. As the grass is dry, any spark could causes a fire very easily, so in the places where you work there should be no vegetation or combustible material. In the same way, with brush cutters, it is advisable to use a line head and have a fire extinguisher or hose nearby. In any case, when a Forest Fire High-Risk Alert is specifically declared, they are also totally prohibited.
Despite having a large and highly specialised team of fire crews, forest fires are very difficult to avoid completely, but they can be prevented so that the damage or spread of fire is as little as possible.
With almost half of its area considered a zone with a high risk of fire, specifically 41% of the island, Gran Canaria has suffered eight major forest fires since the year 2000. The largest one, in 2007, burned an area of more than 18,000 hectares. The summer fires of 2019 burned some 10,000 hectares of land and forced the evacuation of nearly 10,000 people.

To expand the information, the Cabildo has set up a website dedicated to the prevention of forest fires,,which has an informative traffic light system that summarises access and use restrictions in the event of an alert or in times of high risk.


Cabildo declares alert for the risk of forest fires in the midlands and summits of Gran Canaria

The Cabildo de Gran Canaria has declared an alert for the risk of forest fires at the summits of the island and in the southern midlands from heights above 400m altitude, and on the north from 300m above sea level. The alert was declared at 10:00 am on Friday and will be in effect until 09:00 on Monday, June 14, and prohibits the use of fire on forested land.

President of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria Antonio Morales with Federico Grillo, The head of Emergencies of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria
The predictions of Spain’s State Meteorological Agency (AEMET), foresees temperatures above 30ºC in the shade across almost the entire island, with continued calima in higher altitude areas, as well as the existence of a small fire in Mogán, which is in the liquidation phase, as well as the large amount of dry vegetation susceptible to burning. All these reasons have led the insular institution to activate the Plan for Insular Territorial Civil Protection of Gran Canaria due to the risk of fire.
The president of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria and director of the PEIN, Antonio Morales, explained that it is about “being prepared and having all the means activated and ready to act quickly and forcefully in the face of any attempt” since “the weather situation is very adverse and due to the rains there is a lot of dry vegetation ”and he asked the population“ to take extreme precautions and avoid the use of fire and elements that could cause sparks on forest land or near fire risk areas”.
Although forest land usually has no authorisations for agricultural burning, in areas where the temperature and humidity conditions are above the thresholds established, with temperatures over 30 degrees and humidity below 30%, all such authorisations are suspended.


#IFArico: Gran Canaria firefighters help more than 300 fire fighters with the Tenerife forest fire which continues uncontrolled

The Cabildo de Gran Canaria this Friday morning sent troops to assist in the extinction of the Tenerife forest fire declared on Thursday, May 20 in the municipality of Arico. Two forestry brigades, a “presa” team and a “bravo” team, with four commanders, have travelled to Tenerife. The contingent plan is made up of two fire engines and eight light vehicles, they travelled by sea to integrate with the rest of the teams, of more than 300 firefighters and at least 7 aircraft, in the work of extinguishing the flames, which have now affected an area of more than 1,500 hectares within a perimeter of 16km. ⁣


The president of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Antonio Morales, recalled that “???? ??????? has received help from the other islands on many occasions to put out fires” so will always be ready to “collaborate as soon as they request it.” He also sent encouragement to the population and authorities of Tenerife and hoped that “the fire can be controlled and extinguished as soon as possible without casualties and with the least environmental and material damage”. ⁣

More than 300 ground troops and 7 aircraft, including seaplanes and helicopters are working to extinguish the forest fire declared in Arico #TENERIFE.
The perimeter this afternoon of the #IFArico stood at about 16km in an approximate area of at least 1,500 hectares. Work has been carried out with greater intensity along the left flank and the west flank is being monitored due to its proximity to the Barranco de El Río.  Two more seaplanes have been requested to be included into the extinction tasks.  Fire fighting teams have gathered from across the islands to assist.
#IFArico continues uncontrolled without a fixed perimeter, more than 1,500 hectares have been affected so far although not the entire area has been burned, the forecast is that the situation will improve over time, despite the strong winds hampering efforts to bring the blaze to heel.



Gran Canaria Cabildo to plant 8000 trees across several zones, recovering forest, and creating green fire-resistant areas

The Cabildo de Gran Canaria are allocating more than €400,000 to plant 8,000 laurel trees, and thermophilic forest containing species resistant to fire, at the eight of the largest island farmlands on the north of Gran Canaria.


Each year, 2000 specimens are to be planted at these Farms; Osorio located in Teror, La Cazuela in Firgas, El Brezal in Santa Maria de Guía, Los Chorros, Los Tilos and Peñón in the municipality of Moya, and San José del Álamo and Montaña de San Gregorio in the capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
These farmlands are within Forest Fire High Risk Areas (Known in Spanish as ZARI – Zonas de Alto Riesgo de Incendios), so the project also includes the clearing of 25 hectares of bush and brambles, each year, to clear away the potential vegetative fuel that accumulates in these areas.
The repopulation will fundamentally extend the laurel populations with fayas, paloblancos, laurels, aceviños and viñátigos, as well as thermophilic (fire-resistant) species including the endemic dragon trees, wild olive trees, junipers and palm trees, in San José del Álamo and Montaña de San Gregorio.
The project will include the technical environmental management to establish the annual schedule of clearing, which will be carried out before summer, which is, the time of greatest risk, and repopulation, which is carried out after the summer period to take advantage of the rains, as well as well as the monitoring of what has been planted, always in coordination with the Cabildo’s Environmental team.
The expense is to be distributed with the first €50,000 for 2021, slightly more than €100,000 for the annual budgets from 2022 to 2024, and another 50,000 for the first half of 2025.
This initiative is a further aspect of the Cabildo’s continued work in favour of biodiversity, that includes action such as the pioneering Life Nieblas Project (testing technology like innovative fog collectors, aiming to mitigate various impacts and effects caused by climate change in areas of southern Europe and outermost regions, through mimicking natural water collection systems), to repopulate more than 30 hectares, that were burned and are now at a high risk of desertification, with 20,000 laurel trees by 2024, in the Barranco de la Virgen and also contribute to the regeneration of aquifers, to recovery of the Doramas Forest, to produce a great green, humid fire-fighting shield for Gran Canaria.


A car was completely destroyed in a roadside fire this afternoon, under the bridge at the entry slip road to Arguineguín

A car was completely destroyed in a roadside fire this afternoon, under the bridge at the entry slip road to Arguineguín from the GC-1 highway. Firefighters used about 1,500 liters of water and foam concentrate to tackle the blaze, however luckily the incident resulted in no injuries.

At 5:01 p.m., the 112 Emergency and Security Coordination Centre (Cecoes) received an report of a fire in a Volkswagen Golf at the entrance to Arguineguín from the main southern motorway, just under the GC-1 bridge.
Two firefighters from the Puerto Rico, a corporal and four agents, travelled to the scene, and managed to put out the flames using water and foam. The car was totally destroyed due to the intensity of the flames, according to sources at the roadside fire this afternoon.
Mogán Policia Local and Guardia Civil Traffic Department agents assisted and regulated traffic as a tailback began to build up.


Shopping centre fire brought under control at a motorcycle rental store in Playa del Inglés

Firefighters in Playa del Inglés were deployed this Saturday afternoon to put out a shopping centre fire in a motorcycle rental store at the CC Plaza, on the south of Gran Canaria, according to reports from the 112 Canary Islands Centre Emergency and Security Coordination team (CECOES 112).

The alarm was raised at around 4:50 pm, reporting a shopping centre fire, at which point firefighters and police officers were activated and deployed, as well as an ambulance sent from the SUC Canary Islands Emergency Service.
At least two individuals are known to have been “mildly affected” in the incident, according to 112. A column of smoke several meters high was visible from various points around the tourist southern tourist zone.  It is not yet clear what caused the blaze.

#SUC asiste a dos afectados leves tras un incendio declarado en local de centro comercial en Playa del Inglés #GRANCANARIA. Bomberos San Bartolomé de Tirajana continúan interviniendo en el lugar junto a recursos policiales.
— 1-1-2 Canarias (@112canarias) January 30, 2021


Pruning and burning at the peaks and inland areas of Gran Canaria

You may see occasional columns of smoke at the summits of Gran Canaria around this time of year, as the Cabildo (island government) carry out pruning and ‘burning heaps’ projects around the the island’s peaks, aimed at preventing the spread of forest fires,  also using the burnt trunks, of non-native Pinus Radiata, the Monterey pine, which were introduced in the 1950s, they are not resistant to fire like the canary islands pine, so they now use these to create earthwork barriers, called wrapping, to help prevent erosion.

Winter is when forest fire crews and the environment agency take advantage of the cooler weather to carry out fire prevention actions, such as prescribed burns, and advise that citizens use this time of year to clean the surroundings of their houses to help protect from fires, as otherwise it can hinder the work of fire crews in the event of a blaze. Home owners in the more mountainous areas are advised to removed debris and weeds from their property boundaries, since the accumulation of dry vegetation offers fire the continuity it needs to expand, as happened in 2019.
The Cabildo environmental and forestry brigades, which carry out their work in public woodlands, have already completed burning and wrapping in the Degollada de Las Palomas area, in the El Huerto nursery, and around the perimeters of Artenara, including the heliport, as well as in Llanos de Ana López in San Mateo and in Monte de Crespo of Valleseco, close to where the 2019 fire originated.
The tasks, which will continue over the coming weeks, involve the preventive pruning of Canary Island pines and Radiatas in order to make it difficult for fire to reach their crowns, which apart from helping to preserve the specimens, slows the potential for the spread of fires. After that, the brigades create burning heaps along with branches and other fallen debris to eliminate this potential wildfire fuel.
These silvicultural tasks aim to leave wild fires without fuel while providing an opportunity for the selective cutting of specimens with signs of disease or weakness, especially in areas with an excessive concentration of trees. Likewise, the Radiata pines affected by the fires, that are still standing despite being dead, are cut down to avoid the risks associated with their falling due to strong winds or any other cause.
These trunks are then used to stop erosion of the slopes, and are placed perpendicular or to forming V shapes, depending on the terrain and the slope, so that they help retain soil in case of rain and runoff.
These works also clear the ground for new reforestations with Canary Island pine, which encourages this endemic species to gain ground against Radiata, also known as the California pine, a variety with great adaptability and rapid growth that was originally used here in the 1950s to reforest large areas of Gran Canaria, although their resistance to fire is much lower.


Canary Islands alert issued for 40-44ºC temperatures and high risk of fires over the next few days

The Spanish State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) have this afternoon increased their advisory Canary Islands alert level to red due to high temperatures expected across the Canary Islands with temperatures on the islands set to reach 40º C in the shade, in particular inland and on the south of Gran Canaria, where temperatures could reach up towards 44ºC.  It is always hotter in direct sunlight.
The Ministry of the Interior General Directorate of Civil Protection and Emergencies has issued an alert for high temperatures and extreme risk of forest fires in the Canary Islands.
A warm air mass, with probable Calima dust from the Sahara, will cause the archipelago to experience very high temperatures until at least Thursday, 40ºC and higher is expected, according to a departmental statement.
The weather conditions heighten the likely risk of forest fires to very high or extreme, leading them to declare the Canary Islands red advisory notice.
Protección Civil have reminded everyone that if a fire is discovered to have started, it is necessary to notify the emergency 112 coordination centre immediately and in case of an emergency due to forest fire, instructions of the authorities must always be followed.

Furthermore, the Canary Islands Government Ministry of Health, anticipating the Calima and a possibility of dense saharan dust, recommend that the population take precautions such as avoiding prolonged exposure to outside air, keep windows closed and do not exert yourself outdoors.
Airborne dust contributes to drying out the airways and, in many cases, it can cause a worsening of conditions or symptoms related to respiratory diseases, such as asthma, people with chronic obstructive disease (COPD) that cause an increase in visits to emergency services and hospital admissions in some cases.
Exposure to this pollutant can cause chest discomfort, coughs, palpitations, fatigue or increased susceptibility to respiratory infections, for at least five days after the episode begins.
Therefore, the following measures are recommended for children, the elderly and people with chronic respiratory or cardiovascular diseases:

Do not go outside and keep doors and windows of closed.
Stay in humid environments and hydrate regularly.
Do not carry out physical exercises outdoors.
In case of worsening respiratory symptoms call 112.



The Canary Guide

Curated news stories for English speakers who #LoveGranCanaria

The Canary News, Views & Sunshine - Est. 2009

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