Forest Fire Rages In Canary Islands For Six Days

August 9, 2016  

More than 11,100 acres (4,500ha) of pine forest – equal to 6% of the island – has been destroyed, causing a smoke trail that can be seen from space.The Spanish authorities have blamed a 27-year-old German who is said to have started the blaze last Wednesday to get rid of the paper he had just used.German radio station FFH said that Scott S, as he has been named, was a dropout who had left his homeland and had been living in caves on the island.The station said he had admitted he started the fire.More than 350 firefighters and a dozen helicopters have been tackling the blaze and, until Monday, had been unable to bring it under control.
The president of the Canaries, Fernando Clavijo, said: “The fire has evolved favourably in recent hours although, again, the night has proved difficult.”On Sunday, according to Bild newspaper, 500 residents of the village of Villa de Mazo had to flee at dawn as the flames approached, bring the number rendered homeless to 3,000.After temperatures reached 36C, the Canary Islands government put the Western Islands and Gran Canaria on high alert over the risk of further fires. Much of La Palma is designated a biosphere as a result of the large virgin pine forests on the island, which is home to several unique species.