Gran Canaria fires – what is happening and is it safe for travel?

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GRAN Canaria is one of Spain’s Canary Islands off the coast of northwest Africa and a popular tourist destination for Brits.

A huge forest fire though has broken out and mass evacuations are currently underway.

Firefighters said they were ‘overwhelmed’ by the blaze
Twitter/UMEgob

What is happening in Gran Canaria?

About 1000 people have been evacuated from their homes after a huge blaze broke out affecting 900 hectares in the mountains of Artenara.

Artenara is in the western part of Gran Canaria in the mountains and about 20 miles from the capital of Las Palmas.

Troops have now been brought in to help fight the fire.

The blaze is believed to have been sparked by a man using a soldering iron and a 55 year old has been arrested by local cops.

Troops have now been called in to help with the fire
Twitter/BomberosGC

Last night, the emergency was downgraded after firefighters believed the flames were under some sort of control but extra air help has now been called in.

And this morning Gran Canaria fire brigade tweeted: “We are overwhelmed by the situation. We continue working and fighting for our island !!!”

At least one tourist campsite has been evacuated and the smoke is clearly visible from the air from all parts of the island and from Tenerife.

The fire started in a mountainous region on the island
EPA

Numerous villages have been evacuated and residents spent the night in municipal buildings including sports centres, schools and community halls.

Red Cross officials confirmed no residents have been injured although they are very worried about their homes as several properties have been burned.

At least a dozen small population centres were evicted during the night due to the proximity of the fire.

Two firefighters needed treatment for burn injuries.

Soldiers from the Emergency Intervention Unit from Los Rodeos (Tenerife) are now being brought in to help firefighters.


Is it safe to travel to Gran Canaria?

The Foreign Office hasn’t changed its advice for people travelling to Spain since July 9 which does not specifically mention the fire on Gran Canaria.

A Foreign Office spokesman told The Sun Online: “Staff at our consulate in Las Palmas are monitoring the situation and stand ready to assist any British people who need help.”

The island has a population around 900,000 people.

An estimated four million Brits visit the island every year.

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