Canaries fires force mass evacuation

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Canaries fires force mass evacuation

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Around 1,000 people have had to be evacuated by ferry overnight, fleeing a forest fire in La Gomera on the Canary islands.

Fires there are advancing on three fronts and thousands more are fleeing the area, after the driest winter for 70 years has left everything tinder-dry. A smaller blaze is being fought on Tenerife, and on the mainland a second firefighter was killed on Monday morning fighting a wildfire in Torremanzanas, north of Alicante.

“At around midnight they asked us to find accommodation for all the evacuees. We tried our best and we found space for more than 800,” said the Mayor of San Sebastian de la Gomera Angel Luis Castilla.

“It was a sudden evacuation. We were not expecting it and very quickly they gave us the order to leave the village. So we went to the harbour and with children everything is more complicated, you know?” said one young father.

In all some 5,000 people have been forced from their homes on the Canaries, which have also lost huge tracts of the Garajonay nature reserve, parts of which are believed to be millions of years old.