The fire on the island of Tenerife, which has already spread over the surface of nine municipalities and has destroyed nearly 4,000 hectares, yesterday began to behave "in a normal way" after an unusual virulence during the first 48 hours due to the dryness of the ground and "extreme" conditions after the heat wave that hit the Canary Islands last week.
"It's a very serious fire," said yesterday the general director of Natural Spaces and Biodiversity of the Government of the Canary Islands, Miguel Ángel Morcuende. Until now, as he points out, it was the fire that marked the conditions and made it difficult to plan the extinguishing tasks. Since Thursday night, the fire has been adapting to the weather conditions and this allows the teams to set strategies and anticipate the progress of the fire.
This change has allowed the actions carried out in the last 24 hours to work successfully and has made the authorities "moderately optimistic" about their evolution during the next few hours. However, as these sources made clear yesterday, the fire is still out of control and cannot yet be extinguished. "Hard days are coming, especially taking into account the weather change that is expected for the next few days with the rise in temperatures", indicated yesterday the technical head of Forest Risk at the Tenerife City Council, Pedro Martínez.
Air and ground crews were working yesterday on five sectors in a fire that has a perimeter of more than 42 kilometers, as detailed by the experts. Of these five areas, two are of particular concern and on which work is being done most intensively. This is the northern flank, in La Esperanza (municipality of El Rosario), where yesterday attempts were made to establish defensive lines to prevent the fire from advancing and damaging infrastructure and homes in an area with a large dispersion of properties; the other is the front of La Orotava, to the south, where the actions are complicated because it is a very rugged terrain. These are vertical walls where it is difficult to act. "Right now there is little controlled perimeter, but these two points are the ones that worry the most, because they are close to the towns", says Martínez. The effectiveness of the actions at La Esperanza made it possible to halve the number of confined people yesterday, which has gone from 3,820 to 1,671. Evacuees remain at 4,509, and there have been no further evictions since yesterday.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Defense sent a plane to the Canary Islands loaded with ten containers of retardant material and two with other similar products that are considered key to fighting the fire, especially in areas with the worst accessibility. As indicated by Martínez, the retardant allows a chemical insulator to be impregnated on the vegetation and prevents the spread of the fire by creating preventive lines, while the other products allow aerial discharges to be more effective.
Yesterday the wind from the east entered the island, which caused flames in some areas, as the president of the Government of the Canary Islands, Fernando Clavijo, had warned. "Citizens should not be alarmed if they see this, because they are not new outbreaks, but an effect of the air, which brings oxygen to the flames."