Holiday island among Spanish regions hit by fire

More than 4,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in Spain’s Canary Islands because of forest fires that are difficult to control due to a heatwave and the added problem of strong winds, local authorities said yesterday.

The worst-hit areas are Tenerife and La Gomera, where temperatures have topped 40C since Friday, restarting fires that had been put out during the week after burning over 3,000 hectares since Aug 4.

The fires have destroyed 200 hectares in Tenerife and 470 hectares in La Gomera since Friday and some roads have been closed on both islands.

Other areas, including the northern province of Galicia, have been affected by fires in the past few days.

Spain has already suffered a number of forest fires in various regions this year.

Around 50,000 hectares were destroyed in the first five months of 2012, making this year the worst since 2002, according to the environment ministry.

Thousands of people were evacuated in Valencia in July, also a popular tourist area, and four French people died last month in fires in the border area between Catalonia and southern France.

The tourism sector has been a major engine of growth for the Spanish economy as it struggles with a painful recession that has left almost one in four jobless.


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