High temperatures and strong winds are hampering efforts to fight forest fires raging out of control in the Canary Islands. Five helicopters and a plane are tackling a huge blaze on Gran Canaria, where 2,000 people have been evacuated. More than 200 fire fighters are also fighting the flames.
“Police with loudhailers told everyone to leave their homes and go down to the beach. Several houses have been burnt down including the Mayor’s”, said one evacuee. “We couldn’t breathe properly, there was smoke everywhere, on the terrace and we left the house straightaway.” said another.
2,000 have also been evacuated from the path of a fire on the nearby island of Tenerife. Fires have also broken out in central and southern Portugal. Meanwhile it’s being reported that a 37-year-old forestry worker has told police he started the fire on Gran Canaria after being told his contract would not be renewed in September.