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Thousands evacuated as Canary Islands fire spreads

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Thousands evacuated as Canary Islands fire spreads
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Forest fires on the Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa are continuing. More than 13,000 people have been evacuated from centres on two islands. The Spanish government is sending reinforcements to help firefighters. It has announced a state of maximum alert. Strong winds and high temperatures are making the blazes especially difficult to put out. 300 people are currently involved with the firefighting and evacuation effort. Authorities on Gran Canaria, one of the islands hit, have announced emergency aid of 300,000 euros to victims. One woman said: “I don’t know what state my house is in, if it’s been burned. That’s the worry.” Around 10,000 hectares of land have been destroyed on Gran Canaria and around 14,000 hectares on neighbouring Tenerife. Both are popular tourist destinations. The original blaze was started by a forest ranger angry about his work contract which was about to expire. He is now being held in solitary confinement. Fires on the Spanish mainland, meanwhile, are burning near Valencia and close to the cities of Huelva and Cordoba in the southern region of Andalucia. There have been wildfires in other countries in southern Europe linked to this summer’s heatwave.