Canary Islands authorities evacuate 4,000 as wildfire spreads

Flames and smoke from a forest fire are seen in the village of Moya, in the Canary Island of Gran Canaria, Spain, August 18, 2019. REUTERS/Borja Suarez

TEJEDA, Spain (Reuters) – A wildfire sweeping across Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands led to the evacuation of 4,000 people on Sunday and officials warned tackling the blaze was being complicated by a combination of high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity.

The wildfire, which started on Saturday close to the town of Tejeda, is advancing on two fronts in a mountainous area of the island. Around 1,700 hectares have been burned and 11 roads have been closed.

“The fire is not contained nor stabilized or controlled,” Canary Islands regional president Angel Victor Torres told a news briefing, adding he had spoken by phone with Spanish acting prime minister Pedro Sanchez to request central government help.

Ten planes and helicopters, as well as around 700 firefighters on the ground including about 200 from the military, were battling the blaze. Three more planes are on their way to the area.

Tejeda was evacuated last week because of an earlier wildfire.

Reporting by Borja Suarez and Joan Faus; Writing by Joan Faus; Editing by David Holmes

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