The European heatwave has scorched much of the continent over the summer, causing wildfires in Sicily, Greece, Portugal and Tenerife, one of Spain’s most popular holiday destinations. An ‘out of control’ blaze began on Tuesday 15 August, destroying more than 4,000 hectares of land and forcing the evacuation of at least five villages.
The fire was eventually contained, but never fully extinguished. Recent unseasonably high temperatures for early October have caused the fire to spread again across the north-east of the island. This is all we know so far about the Tenerife forest fires and what they mean for travel to the island.
Where are the fires in Tenerife?
The fire originally broke out on Tuesday 15 August in a forested area at the foot of the Teide volcano and ripped through forests in the Candelaria and Arafo areas. The flames are threatening the towns of Santa Ursula and La Orotava and around 3,000 people have been evacuated as a precaution.
What caused the fires in Tenerife?
According to the Canary Islands’ regional president, Fernando Clavijo, the original fire was deliberately set. Unusually high temperatures for this time of year are the reason it has started to spread gain.According to Rosa Davila, head of Tenerife’s local government, who spoke to Reuters, ‘temperatures will remain higher [than usual], so we expect more fires to be reactivated in the area.
Are the airlines still flying to Tenerife?
According to The Times, Tenerife’s South and North airports are operating normally. There have been no reports of flights being delayed or cancelled.
Is it safe to travel to Tenerife?
The outlook for these fires is more positive than what happened in August. Although the temperatures are worrying, they are nowhere near as extreme as the island’s summer highs, meaning the fire should be easier to contain. Fernando Clavijo, regional director of the Canary Islands, said: ‘There is less fuel [for the fire], so it shouldn’t get out of hand.The fire is only affecting the northern part of the island, while most tourists visit the southern region.
Can I cancel my trip and get a refund?
In most cases you will not get a refund if you cancel your trip. However, it’s advisable to contact your tour operator directly. Some airlines and tour operators may offer more flexibility or compensation.
What does the FCO say?
The FCO has not yet issued any specific advice on the Tenerife forest fires. Their website offers general advice on dealing with extreme temperatures in Spain, as well as advice on staying safe during forest fires.
The latest on Spain’s heatwave
Spain has been battling record-breaking temperatures this summer as a result of the European heatwave. The country has experienced three major heatwaves, with some parts of the country reaching highs of 44C.
AEMET, Spain’s national weather service, recorded six consecutive days of unseasonably high temperatures between 28 September and 4 October. Combined with the dry and windy conditions on the island, this increases the risk of fires spreading.
Why are wildfires becoming more common in Europe?
Sicily, Greece and Portugal also experienced fires this summer. These extreme weather events are said to be a direct result of climate change. The extreme temperatures and drier, windier conditions are making wildfires more likely across the continent in the future.