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Gran Canaria wildfire rages out of control as 9,000 are evacuated

Firefighters are continuing to battle an uncontained wildfire on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria, with regional authorities saying around 9,000 people had been evacuated from the area.

The blaze, which began near the town of Tejeda on Saturday, is advancing on several fronts, propelled by a combination of high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity.

So far, the fire is affecting the mountainous central part of the island rather than coastal areas busy with tourists in the summer months.

A spokeswoman for emergency services in the region told Reuters the fire was very serious and remained out of control.

Sixteen planes and helicopters, as well as more than 700 firefighters, are currently working to contain flames as high as 50 metres, authorities said. More than 3,400 hectares have burned so far and the fire is moving aggressively towards the northwestern Tamadaba natural park, home to some of the island's oldest pine forests.

The regional president of Gran Canaria said it was impossible to use airborne means to extinguish the fire in areas where the flames were 50 metres high.

Some 400 firefighters spent the night battling the fire's flanks, hoping to choke it off as it moved towards more populated areas, and more firefighters arrived on Monday.

The blaze marks the second time that Tejeda has been evacuated this month due to wildfire.

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