Canarian Government lifts maximum forest fire risk alert

Photo: Tenerife Cabildo.

Updated 27 August: Following the significant cooling down of the weather and its lifting of the maximum temperature alert on Sunday, the Canarian Government last night also lifted the maximum forest fire risk alert that has been in place since the heatwave from the weekend before last. The authorities call on the public to maintain vigilance and exercise extreme caution to avoid infernos such as Gran Canaria has recently suffered, but for the moment, the humidity is back up, the temperature is down, summer is wonderful! 

Updated 25 August: After what seems an age, and a horribly muggy weekend, the Canarian Government has lifted its maximum temperatures alert from midnight tonight as the heat passes – very gradually and slowly, but it’s cooling. I doubt it will be the last this summer, but for the moment, we can expect slightly cooler weather tomorrow. Please note, however, that the forest fire risk alert remains in place, as does the Cabildo ban on fire risk activities in the mountains.

Updated 23 August: A fire that broke out around midnight last night in the Vista La Huerta area of La Esperanza was extinguished by bomberos and Brifor; it was followed by a second outbreak in the same area at 3.30am, also quickly extinguished. Some 2,500m2 were affected in all. The authorities remind the public that there is currently a Met Office yellow alert for heatwave which will send temperatures this weekend up to well over 30º in most places and over 40º in some parts, and send humidity down below 30%: the maximum risk for fires exists when the three thirties are in place – temperatures over 30º, humidity under 30%, and winds of 30 km/h. At least two of these are in place this weekend and so there is a Canarian Government Maximum Forest Fire Risk Alert in place in addition to a Cabildo ban on all activities in the mountains including hunting and vehicles on mountain tracks. Let’s all hope we can get through the weekend without a major blaze, and please do see HERE for official advice on staying safe in heatwaves.

Updated 9.30pm: As expected, the Cabildo has once again issued a ban on all mountain activities that could pose a fire risk. Until further notice all recreation areas are closed for BBQs, fireworks and electric tools are prohibited, as are controlled rubble burning or bonfires in fincas. In addition, vehicles are banned from forest tracks as is hunting, among other activities.   

Updated 22 August: The last time, my word they were right about the risk given what happened in Gran Canaria, and this weekend again there is a Canarian Government’ forest fire alert from 8am tomorrow. The alert again calls on the public to exercise maximum care not to be the cause of any risk whatsoever while temperatures will rise up to 42º, especially in the eastern islands. The real risk is the humidity, again under 30%: if the winds blow even at 30km/h the three main factors for major fire risk are in place. At the moment, the alert is open-ended, but temperatures are expected to reduce somewhat on Monday.

Gran Canaria’s Artenara fire was an inferno, and it hadn’t even been extinguished when the monstrous Valleseco fire started. That is not yet under control, and these conditions are returning this weekend. Let’s just hope nothing worse happens to Gran Canaria, and here in Tenerife, let’s use maximum caution to keep things safe. And if staying cool proves impossible, at least stay safe: have a look HERE for official advice on staying safe in heatwaves, never a positive word in climates that are generally warm in any case. 

Updated 15 August: Given the weather forecast and Aemet’s alert for high temperatures this weekend, and the Canarian Government’s forest fire risk alert issued yesterday, the Tenerife Cabildo has issued a ban on all mountain activities from midnight tonight. Until further notice all recreation areas are closed for BBQs, fireworks and electric tools are prohibited, as are controlled rubble burning or bonfires in fincas. Even outside of the mountain areas the Cabildo asks the public to take extreme precautions including not lighting the Chinese lanterns which float up and fall in the forest areas – as one did just the day before yesterday. 

Original post 14 August: The Met Office has issued a yellow alert for high temperatures with calima from tomorrow in the Canaries, affecting Tenerife especially from Friday. Nothing out of the ordinary is expected, and indeed compared to some summer calimas this will be nothing special at all, with maximum temperatures thought to reach around 42º or so.

The real concern, of course, is fire, and the biggest problem is low humidity. And this coming weekend it is expected to go below 30%. As such, with temperatures above 30º and humidity below 30%, two of the three conditions for maximum fire risk are fulfilled: the third is winds above 30 km/h. The Canarian Government’s Security and Emergencies Board has therefore issued a forest fire alert from midnight tomorrow, and call on the public to exercise maximum care not to be the cause of any risk whatsoever.

The Gran Canaria inferno is still very vivid in the minds of many and it is not something anyone will want to replicate in Tenerife this weekend. Apart from taking care not to be responsible for fires, high temperatures of course bring their own health issues, and the official advice for staying safe in heatwaves here (“heatwave” is never a positive word in a climate that’s already warm) is HERE.

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