Forest fire alert lifted from 7am Tuesday 26 May as weather cools but high risk remains of fires in the hills

Updated 26 May: The Tenerife Cabildo has lifted its ban on use of the national park but explained that there are still restrictions and rules for use of the mountains as part of phase 2 of the de-escalation process. Please see HERE, 5pm, 26/5 update, for details.   

Updated 25 May: Tonight the Canarian Government’s Department of Security and Emergencies has ended the forest fire alert in Tenerife, as well as in the rest of the western province – La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro – and in Gran Canaria. The alert ends officially at 7am Tuesday 26 May, and is the result of the weather starting to cool, but local authorities and island Cabildos are required to keep on a security footing because the risk of fires breaking out above 500m remains high.  

Updated 11pm, 24/5: At the end of the hottest day of 2020 so far, there have been numerous outbreaks of fires in Tenerife and Gran Canaria. One in Icod I posted about earlier but there have also been conatos in El Sauzal, and in Gran Canaria again where one tonight is causing concern but is said to be stabilized. Temperatures will start to reduce tomorrow but although most of these fires are now all under control or extinguished, the danger remains for the time being … and the ban on mountain activities and the closure of national and natural parks continues.

Updated 24 May: They weren’t wrong! A fire broke out in the hills above Icod de los Vinos today, in the Llanita Perera area. Brifor has confirmed that it is now under control, with some 1,500m of pinocha and scrubland affected. We remain under Forest Fire Alert and the authorities ask for our complete cooperation in taking extreme precautions while conditions persist. The Cabildo, indeed, has issued a ban on all mountain activities, and made the national and natural parks out of bounds. 

Updated 22 May: The Cabildo has said that the Forest Fire Alert has priority over any relaxation of restrictions that might be announced as Tenerife enters Phase 2 of the estado de alarma de-escalation on Monday. As such, regardless of whatever freedoms may yet be announced, activities in forest areas are banned while conditions persist and until they are officially announced as lifted. Increased units will monitor compliance as well as ensuring safety in the hills and forested areas. All fireworks, forestry work, and any authorized works and sports activities are suspended, and recreational and camping areas will remain closed. 

The forecast indicates temperatures of up to 36º in the medianías from Saturday until at least Monday. Equally if not more dangerously, relative humidity will decrease from 30% on Friday to around 10%. The third danger factor, and the reason for the ban on activity in the mountains, is the wind which will be easterly and northeasterly and is expected to be of moderate intensity with strong gusts.   

Updated 21 May: The Canarian Government’s DGSE (security and emergencies board) has issued a forest fire alert from this Saturday 23 May since conditions will see temperatures rise to the mid-30s, possibly higher especially in the medianías, and since humidity is expected to fall below 30%. These are two of the three danger points – the “three 30s” which indicate maximum risk are 30º minimum temperature, 30% maximum humidity, and wind strength of above 30km/h.

At the moment there’s no forecast for particularly strong winds but with two out of three danger points passed, we are urged to exercise great care especially in the higher points of Tenerife where there are many fincas and agricultural land. The authorities do remind the public, moreover, that the national and natural parks in Tenerife, including the whole Teide caldera and Anaga remain out of bounds to the public except for events organized by registered active/nature tourism businesses.   

The alert comes into effect 7am on Saturday and is currently open-ended, remaining in force while weather conditions persist.

Original post 20 May: Many will think it’s high time! The first real warm spell of the year is expected imminently, meteorologists say, bringing a bit of calima with it naturally, but causing temperatures to rise daily from today over the next week or so. The good spell is expected to be stable and last at least until the end of the month, and could see temperatures up in the low 30s, especially in the medianías. The warm spell is likely to coincide with Tenerife moving into phase 2 of the estado de alarma de-escalation period, expected to be approved for Monday, so the beaches are going to be one hell of a magnet.

Please do remember that face masks are compulsory in open and closed public areas from tomorrow, Thursday 21 May, where a 2m physical distance cannot be maintained. They won’t have to be worn when swimming because an exception is made for people carrying out activities where their wear is incompatible with what is being done but there are going to be calls from all the authorities to everyone not to mess up now all the progress we’ve made. The message will be loud and clear: everyone will naturally enjoy the chance to be back at the coast but should take advantage of it responsibly so as to keep the Canary Islands as relatively free of SARS-CoV2 as they have been so far, and to maintain the relatively few cases of covid19 we’ve had compared with other places.

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