THE huge Granadilla fire, which began on Sunday evening and has raged through three days, was still burning last night (Thursday), and Cabildo President Carlos Alonso believes it could have been started by accident, at the Madre del Agua campsite.

However, the authorities had high hopes of it being contained by last night (Thursday), after a total of 350 hectares, spread over three areas and covering 9½ kilometres in all, had been destroyed, including pine forest and dry vegetation.

And, considering that one hectare is bigger than a standard football pitch, that’s an enormous expanse.

The fire was reported at 8.50pm on Sunday by a hiker, who spotted it from Los Escurriales, the landscape around Vilaflor, looking down at Madre del Agua.

A helicopter from the Canarian emergency salvage-and rescue-team was on hand throughout Monday, trying to extinguish a fast-spreading blaze, which could be seen, the previous night, from  Arico, Vilaflor and at Madre del Agua.

And although the temperatures were low, danger was

never far away because the wind was, slowly, blowing the fire towards the pine forests.

Some 65 Spanish Army soldiers were already in action, with another 45 en-route. Also present were the forests’ fire services, with two specialised fire-engines, as well as the Local Police and the Guardia Civil.

Jose Antonio Valbuena, head of the Environmental Sector, who took charge of the operation from the start, felt that, with the help of  two seaplanes, as well as the decreasing wind conditions,   the fire would have been totally extinguished by last night (Thursday).

A press conference, held yesterday afternoon in La Laguna, was conducted by Tenerife Cabildo President Carlos Alonso, along with Sanchez, who is also a Technician.

They gave detailed information on the disaster, stressing that the fire could have been intentional, down to carelessness, or accidental.

That’s because, they pointed out, the weather conditions on Sunday, when the fire started, could not have been a possible factor.

And though most of the inferno is now under control, the forest fire is still active around the Los Escurriales area, between Vilaflor and Granadilla de Abona.

The Emergency Services were concentrating on controlling the eastern perimeter, where the fire still remains active, covering an area of some 80 hectares around El Rio de Arico.

Earlier in the week, the Canarian Government considered the blaze to be a Level One emergency, with hundreds of dedicated workers already in the field.

These included 115 military from the Emergency unit (UME), as well as 120 members from the Forest Brigade  (Brifor), along with Technicians and Communications officers.

But some 350 hectares, including the pine forest and its vegetation, were affected, and smoke from the blaze could be seen from the mountains close by.

Thankfully, though, no homesteads or farms appeared to have been touched.







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