Published on
Common Dreams

Mass Evacuations in Canary Islands as Fire Rages

Fires due to Spain's driest winter in seven decades

Common Dreams staff

Over 4,700 people have been evacuated from Spain's Canary Islands over two days, in fires that follow Spain's driest winter in seven decades.

"High temperatures, low humidity and wind" have continued to feed the flames as firefighters find themselves losing the battle, regional economy minister Javier Gonzalez Ortiz said on Saturday.

Both extreme and unusual heat and drought have lead to a country plagued by wildfires, as fires also continued to rage in several regions on the Spanish mainland. This year Spain experienced its driest winter in 70 years. Between January 1 and July 29, wildfires destroyed 130,830 hectares of vegetation across Spain.

On the island of La Gomera alone some 3,000 hectares of land, including about one-tenth of the Garajonay nature reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site, have been devastated.

"The fires are still burning on three fronts," an emergency services spokesperson said earlier. "There is no positive change for the moment."

Ventura del Carmen Rodriguez, the island's environment secretary, stated it would take 30-40 years for Garajonay's burned areas to recover. The Garajonay reserve hosts highly rare subtropical forests containing up to 450 plant species, including eight exclusive to the site.

Mid-Year Campaign: Your Support is Needed Now.

Common Dreams is a small non-profit - Over 90% of the Common Dreams budget comes from reader support. No advertising; no paywalls: our content is free. But our costs are real. Common Dreams needs your help today! If you're a regular reader—or maybe a new one—and you haven't yet pitched in, could you make a contribution today? Because this is the truth: Readers, like you, keep us alive. Please make a donation now so we can continue to work for you.

Share This Article

More in: