Updated 12 September: With the DGSE’s lifting of the forest fire risk alert, the Tenerife Cabildo has announced that some of its prohibitions remain in place while others are lifted. The Cabildo has kept in place bans on burning of rubble and the like, bonfires, BBQs, gas cooking devices, fireworks, and the use of machinery or tools that could cause sparks. What is now possible however, with bans lifted, is the use of recreation areas and camp sites, vehicular access to the hiking network, and hunting. The public is asked to take the utmost fire-risk precautions while undertaking any permitted activities in forested areas.
Updated 11 September: The Canarian Government’s DGSE will lift its forest fire risk alert from 9pm tonight as we are returning quickly to temperatures and conditions normal for this time of year. The DGSE says that the heatwave that has affected the islands since the 7 September is now coming to an end, and in La Palma firefighters are still dealing with the fire as a Level 1 under the control of the Cabildo. The public is requested nonetheless to remain aware of the risk of forest fires being started accidentally, and of course until the Tenerife Cabildo itself lifts its ban on mountain activities the prohibitions on fire-risk activities, BBQs, etc remains in place.
Updated 8pm, 9/9: As of 8pm this evening, the La Palma Cabildo has said that the fire is now under control. In all it has affected around 75 acres. It has, indeed, started to cool imperceptibly, and temperatures will now continue to go down between now and Sunday, particularly noticeable from Friday.
Updated 9 September: A force of over a hundred has spent the night fighting the new La Palma fire, and from first light the army’s Emergencies Military Unit has joined them along with air resources. Emergency services control room says that weather conditions through the night have been favourable with very little wind. There are still hotspots where focus is now centred, and after early hopes of getting the fire’s permiter contained this morning it has now been confirmed that the situation is even better than that. It is now stabilized and with the Canarian Government reducing the level to 1, work now continues back under the Cabildo’s jurisdiction to get it under control.
Updated 10pm, 8/9: Thanks to the lack of wind things don’t look too bad at present for land crews preparing nonetheless to work through the night fighting this fire, and now supplemented by the army’s emergencies military unit. Winds are forecast, though, as the alisios return and start to cool things down from tomorrow, so the window of opportunity to get this under control is somewhat constrained. The Canarian Government has this evening declared a Level 2 so as to assume control of coordinating firefighting efforts which are taking place in temperatures that have been reaching 41º, and once again troops and resources are heading on the Olsen fast ferry to La Palma.
De camino a Puerto los Cristianos elemento de 1a intervención de la #UIEMCanarias donde les espera un barco para dirigirse a la isla de La Palma para colaborar en la extinción de #IFTijarafe. Gracias a los pasajeros @FOexpress por su comprensión y apoyo👍 https://t.co/W40e60DFv0 pic.twitter.com/zIsiZVsBQS
— UME (@UMEgob) September 8, 2020
Updated 8 September: Sadly, La Palma has another fire, though at present thankfully without high winds. The fire has been declared in the Tijarafe area – again. The La Palma Cabildo has said that air and land resources are fighting the outbreak in the El Jesús area, but it has already reached a pine area and the situation is said to be “difficult”. The authorities are hoping to get a good grip on this before nightfall. I’m sure we all hope they will succeed.
Updated 6pm, 7/9: Teide National Park authorities are staggered at the discovery last night by forestry brigades of three tourists completely oblivious to any regulations who were making a bonfire in the middle of the forest. Even if they did not know about the forthcoming heatwave, or the Canarian Government’s forest fire risk alert, the park authorities say, it is inconceivable that anyone should think it a good idea to light fire in the midst of a forest in a national park. Thankfully the risk was averted by forestry brigades, and the tourists have been given what could politely be called a b******ing … and action will be taken against them for what the Tenerife Cabildo calls “completely irrational” behaviour.
Updated 7 September: As might be expected after the DGSE’s forest fire alert, the Tenerife Cabildo has issued a series of bans from 8am today which mean that agricultural burnings or the like are prohibited, as are the BBQ areas in the national park and campsites, bonfires, fireworks, any works that could cause sparks. In addition, there is a ban on vehicles in the hiking network for recreational purposes and hunting. The Cabildo asks the public for their cooperation, and requests that we all take the utmost precautions and avoid forested areas completely while conditions persist.
Updated 6 September: Here we go again. The Canarian Government’s Dirección General de Seguridad y Emergencias (Securities & Emergencies Board) has declared a Forest Fire Risk Alert starting at 8am tomorrow, Monday 7 September. The alert applies to Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and Gran Canaria. The DGSE declared the alert because of the heatwave expected from tomorrow with temperatures up to the mid-high 30ºs, exceeding that in some locations. Atmospheric instability is also forecast – I imagine they mean thunder and lightning! – and certainly some rain can’t be discounted, mucky rain because this heat is bringing calima with it.
Original post 5 September: It’s going to get warm again, and Sanidad has activated a Public Health Risk Alert for high temperatures at the beginning of next week, especially Tuesday and Wednesday. The alert applies to Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, and La Palma, with temperatures forecast of above 32º, especially in the medianías. In Tenerife, the municipios most affected are expected to be Adeje, Arafo, Arico, Arona, Candelaria, Fasnia, Granadilla de Abona, Guía de Isora, Güímar, La Orotava, San Miguel de Abona, and Santa Cruz.
The latest weather front is apparently caused by a depression to the north west drawing hot and dry air to fuel it so quite a lot of high cloud is also expected which will hopefully provide a bit of shade though it often brings some mucky rain as well. This isn’t forecast to last very long, so let’s hope! And especially let’s hope that we get no forest fires in these islands this time. Please do see HERE for official health advice for hot weather, and HERE for forest fire prevention and safety advice.