The trees above the road of the forested peaks of Valleseco are engulfed in flames in the Grand Canary Island of Spain. AFP
Around 8,000 people have been evacuated as firefighters battle an out-of-control wildfire on Gran Canaria in Spain's Canary Islands, authorities said on Monday.
The blaze, which began on Saturday near the town of Tejeda, is advancing on several fronts, propelled by a combination of high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity. So far, the fire is affecting the mountainous central part of the island rather than coastal areas busy with tourists in the summer months.
"The fire remains out of control," a spokeswoman for emergency services in the region told Reuters. "It is a very serous fire."
Sixteen planes and helicopters as well as more than 700 firefighters are currently working to contain flames as high as 50 metres, authorities said. More than 3,400 hectares have burned so far and the fire is moving aggressively towards the northwestern Tamadaba natural park, home to some of the island's oldest pine forests.
Some 400 firefighters spent the night battling the fire's flanks, hoping to choke it off as it moved towards more populated areas.
The blaze marks the second time that Tejeda has been evacuated this month due to wildfire.
A wildfire in the popular tourist island of Gran Canaria has been stabilised but continues to burn, Spain’s acting prime minister said on Thursday, promising that the thousands affected by the fire would get help in rebuilding.
Residents fled their homes as the so-called Tick Fire scorched over 4,000 acres (1,618 hectares) and was only ten percent contained by Friday evening.
The few who stayed behind in Towamba to fight spot flames and stop embers from setting their homes alight gathered on Saturday in the village hall, where supplies had been prepared and someone's vintage 1932 Chevrolet parked for safety.
The Cabinet approved the cancellation of the decision regarding the validity of residency visas for expatriates, who are in or outside the country and if their visas expired between March 1 and 31, 2020.
The meeting also discussed the successful efforts exerted by the country to fight COVID-19 pandemic and ways to limit its impact and repercussions in all fields.
Hope will take seven months to travel the 493 million kilometres to Mars, in time to mark the 50th anniversary of the emirates' union in 2021.