Tenerife on fire again
Update 8am: As of last thing last night, the fire is now officially under control.
Update 9pm: The Consorcio de Bomberos say that the fire is now stabilized. Hopefully “under control” isn’t too far away.
Update 2 September 6.30pm: I didn’t post it earlier because normally these “conatos”, or outbreaks, are put out within a couple of hours, but this one has been burning now for several hours and they haven’t announced it even as under control yet. It’s Tacoronte again, in the La Atalaya mountain area, and a fire broke out there earlier this afternoon. Helicopters and ground firefighters are tackling the blaze.
Update 10.45pm: All three north Tenerife fires are now officially under control. In total, 16 hectares were affected.
Update 8.30pm: Both the La Esperanza and Los Rodeos fires are under control. The La Orotava one is currently being stabilized. The TF-24 has been reopened.
Update 5.30pm: And another one. Fire now in the Aguamansa area above La Orotava.
Update 4.30pm: Air and land firefighting efforts currently at work in the La Montañeta fire. The TF-24 Teide access road from La Laguna through La Esperanza is closed to traffic.
Update 4pm: The Cabildo has just confirmed that yet another fire has broken out in Tenerife, this time in La Montañeta, the forested hills in the La Esperanza area above La Laguna. Firefighting teams are heading there at this very moment.
Update 1.30pm: Official sources say that a hotspot in Chirche from the fire of three or so weeks ago has reactivated. It sounds as though it could be relatively easy to douse down because it’s confirmed that it’s a case of two Canarian pines that have been smoking since that blaze.
Update 12.30am: The Tenerife Cabildo has declared the Los Realejos fire, both fronts, stabilized and perimetered. In total, around 12 hectares were burnt.
Update midday: The active front of the Los Realejos fire has now spread to the Benijos area of La Orotava.
Update 10.30: Three waterplanes from La Gomera have now had to be diverted to Tenerife for this new Los Realejos fire. As of an hour ago there are also three water helicopters in action, and one of the two focal points is under control. The Teide access road TF-21 has been closed to traffic from La Orotava to El Portillo.
The Government says that the public in the Arafo region should be calm because the smoke they might be able to see has been carried by the wind, and that there is no new fire near Arafo.
Update 15 August: A fire has broken out in the Lomo Alto area of Los Realejos. Firefighting teams from the Cabildo, Parque Nacional, Bomberos, Policía Local and Guardia Civil are already on the scene.
Update 14 August: The Tenerife fire is stabilized and the perimeter of 14km has not increased in the last several hours. Hot points in the Monte del Agua have lost intensity. A helicopter is dropping water on the Erjos area between the municipalities of Los Silos and El Tanque, and forestry teams are damping down the burnt areas. In the area of Ruigómez, where the fire started, the colour contrast between burnt and unaffected areas is obvious, and damage to infrastructure and to cables that has left the Erjos area without telephones is currently being repaired. A Cabildo Environmental team is investigating the cause of the fire, among which possibilities are carelessness, arson, or a discarded bottle which acted as a magnifying glass.
Update 10pm: The Tenerife fire is now at level 1 again, which means firefighting efforts are in the hands of the Tenerife Cabildo. It is still said to be “almost stabilized”.
Update 1.30: The TF-82 and the TF-436 are both now reopened, and all bus lines working normally.
Update 12.15: The Tenerife fire is stabilized, and the President of the Tenerife Cabildo, Ricardo Melchior, has announced that the level will shortly be reduced from 2 to 1, bringing control of the firefighting efforts back under island authorities’ control. The TF-373 (high road from Erjos to Icod) is now reopened; the TF-82 is closed between km 17,5 to 21,5; and the TF-436 closed from Las Portelas to Santiago del Teide. Suspended bus lines 460 and 325 are expected to be re-established later today.
Update 13 August 10am: The morning’s Cabildo press conference brings some hope. At midday, assuming no adverse changes, the Tenerife fire will be reduced to level 1, bringing firefighting efforts back under control of the island authorities. They are getting there, and some firefighting resources are now being sent to help in the crisis on La Gomera. Here, another fire broke out at Icod overnight, but that was extinguished rapidly. In total, some 269 hectares have been affected by the fire, and some 255 people are still evacuated as of this morning. The investigation into the cause of the outbreak is being investigated.
Update 8.30pm: The Tenerife Cabildo’s evening press conference acknowledges that the fire’s perimiter has, in fact, increased: it is now 14km rather than 11km, and the damage has increased from 220 hectares to 360. Some 300 people remain evacuated. Let’s hope for better news tomorrow.
Update 8pm: The Canarian Government’s evening press conference brings some better news for Tenerife. Controlled access has been allowed to Erjos and Masca, though Erjos remains evacuated because of the presence of combustible material in the area. Only Los Carrizales now remains fully evacuated. Sadly, the waterplane expected this evening has a fault and will not now arrive until tomorrow. The authorities hope that the fire will be stabilized tomorrow.
Update 3.30: The residents of six areas have now been authorized to return home. These are Ruigomez, San José de Los Llanos, El Palmar, Teno Alto, Lagunetas and Las Portelas. Erjos, Masca and Valle de Arriba remain evacuated. Efforts are now focused in stopping the fire reaching Masca.
Update 2.30: The east flank of the fire which was approaching Santiago del Teide and which was declared “stable” a couple of hours ago has at last been declared “under control”. Residents of the Valle area are expected to be allowed to return home in the next few hours. Right now, the majority of attention is being devoted to the west flank in the direction of Buenavista del Norte. The Canarian Government has requested a fourth water plane to help fight the fires on Tenerife and La Gomera. It is expected to arrive tonight.
Update 12.30: The active east flank of the fire which was approaching Santiago del Teide is now stable and the approach has been halted, but it is not yet “under control” and emergency services say its development will depend on what weather conditions the day brings. What is now causing particular concern, however, is the west flank, in the Monte del Agua, in the Erjos-El Tanque area (the A in the map above).
Air resources involved at present are two Gobcan helicopters, the Environment Dept’s Kamov, and a Cabildo helicopter. Also firefighting are the Cabildo’s Brifor (forestry brigade), the army, Consorcio de Bomberos, Red Cross, AEA (Anaga Emergency Services), Servicio de Urgencias Canario, TRAGSA (private environmental contractors), Policía Local, Policía Canaria and Guardia Civil.
The TF-82, TF-373, and the TF-436 all remain closed.
Update 12 August: At a 10am press conference, Tenerife Cabildo President Ricardo Melchior said that intensive firefighting efforts were continuing today, but that thanks to the army and forestry brigades, last night had gone well and further reinforcements will be added today. Their efforts will be directed at the only active front now remaining, whic is 150m long between Bolico and Santiago del Teide (Bolico is the A in the map above). The fire currently has a perimter of 11km, with 220 hectares affected. Those evicted from San José de Los Llanos have been able to return to their homes to attend to their animals. Sr Melchior appealed to the public to stay away from all mountain areas. The next press conference will be at 8pm this evening.
Update 8.30pm: Above is a map of the area affected by the El Tanque fire: the A on the map is Teno Alto, the latest place to be evacuated, as announced five minutes ago.
Update 8pm: Telefonic cover now lost in El Tanque, Buenavista del Norte, Santiago del Teide and Guía de Isora; electricity also off in Santiago del Teide.
Update 6.30pm: and now Santiago del Teide itself is evacuated.
Update 4.10pm: … and now Valle de Arriba above Santiago del Teide is evacuated too.
Update 4pm: I would give anything not to post this, but Masca has been evacuated, along with the neighbouring villages of Las Portelas, El Palmar and Carrizales.
Update 3.30pm: The Cabildo says that Tacoronte fire is now stabilized, but the El Tanque one is still out of control.
Update 2pm: Three roads are now closed to traffic in the El Tanque area. The TF82 as before, and now the TF 373 which is the high road from Erjos to Icod, and also the TF436 Masca (Santiago del Teide to Buenavista del Norte) road.
Update 1.30pm: The Cabildo has confirmed that another fire has now broken out in the La Hornaca area of Aguarcía in Tacoronte, again in north Tenerife. Updates as soon as possible.
Update 12.15: Some 500 people have now been evacuated from the El Tanque area because of the fire. The Cabildo said that the terrain, together with the heat and particularly the wind, had made firefighting efforts very difficult. The TF82 remains closed to traffic near Erjos as a safety measure and to assist in the firefighting efforts.
Update midday: Whatever the situation was at 5am, firefighters have not been able to get the blaze under control, and sadly, it has within the last few minutes, been officially declared a level 2, requiring the intervention of the Canarian Government rather than the island authorities. This is where we were a fortnight ago with the Ifonche fire.
Posted 11 August 7am: There was another scare for Tenerife last night after fire broke out around 9pm in La Vaquera, in Ruigómez, El Tanque. It was stabilized around 5am this morning with, in the end, some 80 hectares of heathland burnt. At one point, however, it seemed that it could spread disastrously, with the hamlet of Erjos evacuated, and the Santiago del Teide to Icod road closed to traffic, but thanks to teams of bomberos and forest brigades, the blaze was contained before reaching any dwellings or forest areas.