Forest fires 2018: Vilaflor barranco fire contained and ground teams continue to work to extinguish it

Updated 2pm: Helicopters have been withdrawn now and the fire is said to be contained, with ground teams now just working to extinguish it fully: they remain on site damping down the area. The public has been requested to stay completely away from the entire area until the fire is extinguished.

Updated 23 December: It’s no longer forest fire season but we have a calima and high winds so typical conditions where we worry about them, and shortly after 9am this morning two helicopters and ground teams were dispatched to a blaze in the Barranco de las Cabras, near the Madre del Agua campsite outside Vilaflor in the corona forestal. The fire is still ongoing at 11.30, fanned by the calima winds that are the subject of the current yellow alert in Tenerife.

Updated 8 August: With conditions improved and the Dirección General de Seguridad y Emergencias lifting the alert for forest fire risk, the Tenerie Cabildo has itself lifted the ban on fires and fire risk activities in the mountains. The Cabildo asks, however, that the public take the utmost precaution when in the mountains because although this particular hot spell has passed, it is still high summer and it’s six years since we had the last major fire in Tenerife. There is therefore plenty of regrown fuel for a fire to spread if one starts,

Updated 7 August: The DGSE has ended the forest fire alert in Tenerife and La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and Gran Canaria. The calima is passing and temperatures will reduce gradually over the rest of today and tomorrow. The Tenerife Cabildo’s ban on fires and anything fire-risk related in the mountains remains in place but is likely to be lifted shortly.

Updated 6 August: In view of the DGSE’s forest fire alert the Tenerife Cabildo has banned fires in the mountains from today. The Cabildo says that the ban will remain in place while meteorological conditions and the alert persist. The prohibition, as usual, applies to fires in recreational areas, and so no BBQs in the hills, and also includes a ban on burning agricultural rubble, power tools or activities which could cause sparks, and fireworks. In addition to the ban, the public is asked to take the utmost precautions to avoid doing anything that could trigger a fire, like discarding cigarette ends, and avoiding forest tracks and trails as far as possible.

Updated 5 August: In view of the high temperatures forecast for tomorrow, and with Aemet’s yellow alert for south, west and east Tenerife in place (see HERE), the Canarian Government has declared a forest fire alert for all the western islands and Gran canaria from midnight tonight lasting through tomorrow, 6 August. We are not at the 30/30/30 formula for maximum risk (30º temperature with less than 30% humidity and winds of over 30km/h) but it’s near enough, and the decision was taken to activate the Plan Especial de Protección Civil y Atención de Emergencias por Incendios Forestales de Canarias INFOCA. The public is requested to follow the official advice of the Dirección General de Seguridad y Emergencias which I’ve put in English HERE.

Updated 6pm: The Cabildo has just confirmed that the fire above Candelaria is now under control, with teams remaining on site to extinguish and damp down. In total, five acres of scrubland and pinocha have been burnt, and the firefighting effort has involved 35 personnel from Brifor and three helicopters (two from the Cabildo and one from the Government).

Updated 4pm: The Boca del Valle fire has now been contained, and teams continue working to bring it under control. With the improved situation the access roads to the area via Barranco Hondo and Igueste have been reopened.

Updated 28 July: Firefighters are tackling a blaze that has broken out in the hilly Boca del Valle area of Candelaria municipality. At present Brifor and helicopters are operating in the region and the Policía Local has closed access to the area via Barranco Hondo and Igueste, and advised the public to stay away from the area. Candelaria Protección Civil has also been activated to assist in ensuring compliance and in keeping the public safe.

Updated 2pm: Both focal points of the fire are now under control, the Cabildo has said, and Carreteras has advised that the TF21 has been reopened to traffic. Work continues while Brifor personnel dampen down the area and move on to extinguish the fire completely.

Photo: Emergencias 43.10

Updated 24 July: Apart from a few minor outbreaks there has been nothing to report about fires, thankfully, so far this year, a situation no doubt helped by the fact that we haven’t had the heat that much of northern Europe has had over the past several weeks. Early this morning, however, the authorities and firefighters had the biggest scare of the year so far with a couple of fires breaking out above La Orotava.

The TF21 between Ramón el Caminero and El Portillo has been closed while the blaze, which was reported around 6.30am, is being tackled, and thankfully by 8.30 it was reported as contained, though not yet under control. That situation is expected to improve further over the next couple of hours while the forestry brigade Brifor, together with Cabildo environmental teams, La Orotava Policía Local and the Guardia Civil, continue working in the area.

Updated 11am: Following the DGSE’s lifting last night of its Forest Fire Risk alert, the Tenerife Cabildo has now itself ended its ban on fire-risk activities in the mountains. The medianías of Tenerife were still registering 30º before 9am this morning but it is where the coming normalization of temperatures will first be felt throughout today, and especially tomorrow. The Cabildo repeated, however, that in this entire season, whether with calimas or not, we must all be exceptionally careful to avoid creating a fire that could spread and become a major disaster.

Updated 11 July: The Dirección General de Seguridad y Emergencias’ Forest Fire Risk alert has been lifted in Tenerife from midnight last night. The DGSE’s lifting follows the forecast that temperatures will start to return to normal levels from today, though at present the Tenerife Cabildo’s ban on mountain fire activities remains in place.

Updated 4pm: Following on from this morning’s DGSE alert for Forest Fire Risk, the Tenerife Cabildo has banned fires in the mountains from tomorrow, Tuesday 10 July. The Cabildo says that the ban will remain in place while meteorological conditions and the alert persist. The prohibition, as usual, applies to fires in recreational areas, and so no BBQs in the hills, and also includes a ban on burning agricultural rubble, power tools or activities which could cause sparks, and fireworks. In addition to the ban, the public is asked to take the utmost precautions to avoid doing anything that could trigger a fire, like discarding cigarette ends, and avoiding forest tracks and trails as far as possible.

Updated 9 July: Given the current hot spell with low humidity, the Canarian Government’s Dirección General de Seguridad y Emergencias has declared a Forest Fire Risk Alert for Tenerife, and for La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and Gran Canaria. With the calima expected to worsen throughout today and tomorrow, the DGSE’s alert starts at midnight tonight and at present is open-ended. Please also see THIS page for official information and advice on preventing forest fires, and how to act if caught up in one.

Updated 28 May: The summer fire-fighting campaign starts today and will be in place until 30 November, the Canarian Government’s Minister for Política Territorial, Sostenibilidad y Seguridad, Nieves Lady Barreto, has announced today. After meteorological conditions required cover to be extended to the end of November last year, Barreto said, the Government had decided simply to set 30 November as the end date for the summer campaign this year, and there is also an increase in this year in numbers of technical personnel involved in the provisions, up to 83 from last year’s 72 not counting those supplied by Cabildo and Ayuntamientos, nor the volunteers who, in total, make a manpower of nearly 2,000. The whole programme will cost €1,745,000.

As far as air resources are concerned, Barreto confirmed that there will be fourteen dedicated aircraft, six helicopters from the Canarian Government and others from the Cabildos of Tenerife and Gran Canaria, and from the central Government. In addition, a seaplane based in La Gomera will provide cover again for all the islands. We can expect to see signs soon of the training programmes all these operatives and aircraft will be undertaking over coming weeks … and hoping they will not be called into action through the summer.

Updated 15 April: Granadilla Ayuntamiento has said today that the public might perceive smoke coming from the upper reaches of the municipality but that fire-fighting has been continuing today (and will continue for some time) to extinguish the fire fully, and that today’s works might have resulted in some people seeing smoke. This is not cause for concern but part of the fire-fighting efforts by forestry brigades (Brifor).

Updated 13 April: The Tenerife Cabildo says that as work continues to extinguish the Granadilla forest fire, which is now under control, it has banned all human and vehicular traffic in the area affected, as well as any use of public infrastructure including recreational areas within the zone. The Cabildo requests anyone wishing to confirm whether planned journeys or activities are permitted should call on 901 501 901. Work on fully extinguishing the fire, which is said to be atypical because of a range of topographical and meteorological factors, is expected to take weeks.

Updated 12 April: The Tenerife Cabildo has declared the forest fire to be under control as of 7am this morning. The Gran Canarian units which came to help went back yesterday once the fire was confirmed to be stabilized, and Tenerife’s own forestry units and bomberos are remaining on site continuing to damp down and extinguishing it fully. The fire burnt for three days, entering the National Park itself, and damaging 875 acres of forestry and scrubland, and sadly once again it appears that the blaze had a human origin, whether accidental or intentional is now the subject of a Guardia Civil investigation.

Updated 11 April: As of 9.45am this morning the Cabildo says that the fire is now, at last, stabilized. Operatives are now working to damp down the area and get the fire fully under control in order to extinguish it.

Updated 8pm: The second night of firefighting approaches as the Tenerife Cabildo says that work continues to try to get the blaze under control. The fire can at least now be said to be “contained” along what is now a nearly 10km perimeter, a great improvement. The next step will be to stabilize it, and then proceed to get it under control and, finally, to extinguish it. Over a hundred operatives are working tonight in tortuous conditions in some 875 acres of forest and scrubland affected by the fire while further resources from Seville are anticipated within the next several hours.

Updated 1pm: The Tenerife Cabildo says that as of this lunchtime, the fight continues against the fire which is spreading towards the boundary with Arico municipality. The Cabildo says that unfortunately it seems likely at this point that it could enter the National Park because it is the north-east flank of the fire that is the most active. Currently, there are 34 operatives in action from the Cabildo, 43 from the Military Emergencies Unit, 11 from Gran Canaria, and four helicopters. Up to now, 825 acres have been burnt.

Updated 10 April: The fire remains active and still not under control this morning, with firefighting continuing with ground crew plus three helicopters providing airborne support. As of 8.30am this morning, the blaze has affected 650 acres and has a perimeter of 7.8km, the situation having worsened overnight because of the strong winds. The one piece of good news is that the western side adjacent to Vilaflor municipality is now under control. Again throughout today forestry brigades over from Gran Canaria will join the efforts to get the rest at least contained. This was the sad scene at first light (photo from 112 Canarias).

Updated 3pm: Firefighting efforts continue this afternoon in the upper zones of Granadilla municipality as three GES helicopters are now operating as airborne support for the 63 personnel with six fire engines and two water supply vessels in operation on the ground. Extra help of 45 Emergency Intervention Unit personnel has also arrived from Gran Canaria along with a fourth helicopter, though the Military Emergencies Unit says that the area affected is difficult to access and many operatives are having to use mechanical implements to fight the fire, which remains out of control and as of 3pm affects around 250 acres of forest and scrubland. Anyone affected by such forest fires should read the official advice HERE on staying safe and the protection measures in place, as well as the way in which the Government designates different levels of fire alerst).

Photo: 112 Canarias

Updated 9 April: As of this morning, the fire remains active in the Madre del Agua and Paisaje Lunar area of Granadilla, 112 Canarias has said. CECOPIN,Policía Local,Guardia Civil, Protección Civil Arico and UME are all on site, and the public is urged to stay away from the area, with all walking routes closed. TF Seguridad councillor José Antonio Valbuena said that airborne resources were brought in from 9am this morning to help fight the fire which is currently affecting around 50 acres of forest but which has not entered Vilaflor municipality. The councillor also said that he was hopeful of a rapid extinction because unlike in the summer, we are currently talking of humidity of around 70% and low temperatures. This video was taken from a Government helicopter this morning.

Original post 8 April: At least it’s a month later than last year, but the annual forest fire season has still started early, and tonight there is fear as a fire blazes in the forest in the Granadilla hills near Chasna with the current high winds at altitude driving it towards Vilaflor municipality. Bomberos are on site hoping to get it under control in conditions that are far from favourable, and more are coming to assist from the north where it is presently raining heavily in parts. With luck they’ll bring some rain with them! The mayors of the two municipalities are meeting tonight to coordinate the firefighting efforts. Mirame TV has this video of the fire which shows it’s visible from the southern coast.


  1. Wondering why we have no sea planes ????

    1. Author

      We have one from the mainland for the hottest part of the year, between July and October. Such serious fires out of the main summer season really aren’t usual, and in any case, sea planes cause their own havoc so are very much a last resort (because once the flames are out and the sea water has evaporated, the minerals in it cause great and long-lasting destruction to flora.

  2. Not good, can see lots of black smoke now. Definitely lower (I’m in el Salto) and of course helicopters flying overhead. So sad.

  3. Do you have any latest update? I cannot find anything.

    1. Author

      yes, I posted an update just half an hour ago. Just look at the top of the page.

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