Whilst Britain is suffering from the worst flooding catastrophe in 200 years, the Spanish Canary Islands are tormented by some devastating forest fires. More than 13,000 people had to be evacuated from homes and holiday resorts.
Firefighters are struggling to extinguish fires on three Canary islands, Gran Canaria, Tenerife and La Gomera. High winds from Africa of 70 kms per hour have helped the fires spread with unusual haste.
On Tenerife, 15,000 hectares of forest on the western part of the island have burned since Monday. Tenerife authorities said they were fighting fires on four fronts, only one of which was under control.
On Gran Canaria island, a four-day-old fire has charred 20,000 hectares of woodland in the south-west of the island, in a fire that may have been laid by an arsonist. How insane! One arrest has been made already, a local forest ranger. Spanish army personnel, along with eight firefighting helicopters and a small airplane, are trying to smother the blaze.
On La Gomera, 100 hectares of forest near the Garajonay National Park have been affected by the second fire in five days.
There are seven main islands in the Canary Island archipelago, located off the north-west coast of Africa.
Spain’s Head of Government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, is expected to visit the Canary Islands later today for a first hand impression.