Wildfire in Spain's Tenerife island forces 3,000 people to evacuate
Some 2,400 people were evacuated from the town of Santa Ursula, and another 600 from La Orotava, as a precaution
A wildfire raging on Spain's holiday island of Tenerife amid unseasonably hot temperatures forced the evacuation on Wednesday of around 3,000 people from their homes, local officials said.
Firefighters backed by six water-dropping helicopters were battling the blaze which broke out on Wednesday afternoon in an area of steep ravines in the northeast of the island that was badly ravaged by a huge wildfire in August, the regional government of Tenerife said.
Some 2,400 people were evacuated from the town of Santa Ursula, and another 600 from La Orotava, as a precaution, Lope Afonso, the vice president of the regional government of Tenerife wrote on Facebook.
Television images and videos posted on social media showed smoke rising from a hill close to houses in a remote neighbourhood and helicopters dropping water on flames.
Popular tourist areas on Tenerife, part of the Canaries archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, have so far been unaffected and its two airports have been operating normally.
The seat of the fire "has been stabilised, we are seeing how it evolves to determine if in a few hours residents can return to their homes," Blanca Perez, the island's councillor in charge of emergencies, told local radio.
The outbreak of the fire comes as Tenerife and the neighbouring island of Gran Canaria are under a heat alert, with temperatures soaring above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) across much of the island, levels normally seen during the height of summer.
The seven-island archipelago is located off the northwest coast of Africa and southwest of mainland Spain. At their nearest point, the islands are 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Morocco.
As global temperatures rise due to climate change, scientists have warned that heatwaves will become more frequent and more intense.