'Out of control' wildfires rage in Tenerife: Map of affected areas, evacuations and how to stay safe

Firefighters on Tenerife, Spain. August 16, 2023
Firefighters on Tenerife, Spain. August 16, 2023 Copyright AP/AP
By Ruth Wright with Agencies
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button
Copy/paste the article video embed link below:Copy to clipboardCopied

The fires are currently in the mountainous area surrounding the volcano Mount Teide.


Firefighters are continuing to battle raging wildfires in Tenerife, one of Spain's Canary Islands and a major tourist destination.

Fires started on Wednesday in a craggy and mountainous area in the north-east of the island. 1,000s of residents have been evacuated or told to stay indoors.

The terrain is making it difficult to contain the fires which authorities say are still 'out of control' and continuining to spread.

The blazes currently have a perimeter of 41km and 7,600 people have so far been evacuated or told to stay indoors.

Reuters/Borja Suarez
Residents of the town of Aguamansa carry bottles, as wildfires rage out of control on the island of Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, 17 August, 2023.Reuters/Borja Suarez

'The most complex fire in the last 40 years'

"This is the most complex fire we've had in the Canary Islands in the last 40 years," the region's leader, Fernando Clavijo, said yesterday. 

Pedro Martinez, head of emergency services in Tenerife, said the fire has spread to the north and towards a valley where several campsites are located.

About 250 firefighters backed by 17 planes and helicopters, including three sent from mainland Spain, are trying to contain the fire. But efforts are being hampered as the fire is in a mountainous national park.

Gobierno de Canarias
A government-issued map shows the active fires in Tenerife, 17 August 2023.Gobierno de Canarias

Tenerife: Where are the wildfires?

The fires currently have a perimeter of 41 km.

The fires started in the mountainous area of Arafo and Candelaria. This is in the centre of the island and it surrounds the famous volcano Teide, Spain's highest peak and popular tourist attraction.

7,600 people have so far been evacuated or told to stay indoors.

The areas that have so far been evacuated:

  • Candelaria

  • El Rosario (1,294 residents evacuated from their homes)

  • La Victoria

  • Santa Úrsula 

  • La Orotava (1,525 residents evacuated from their homes)

  • Las Rosas 

  • La Resbala

  • Camino de la Granja

  • Los Eres

  • Lomo Juan Lian

  • Vera del Barranco

  • El Pinalete

  • Galván, Las Vigas y lo de Los Ramos  

  • Pino Alto

  •  Baboseras Altas

  • Camino el Pozo

  • Lomo la Piedra

  • La Vica

  • El Pirul

Residents in La Esperanza have been told to stay inside to protect themselves from the risks of smoke inhalation.

All roads leading into the evacuated areas and the roads leading to Mount Teide are currently shut to the public.

Tenerife: Are the wildfires likely to spread to tourist areas?

Highly flammable pine trees in the area could cause the fires to escalate towards tourist hotspots on the Canary Island, including Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Puerto de la Cruz, authorities said.

"The fire is powerful and is in a complicated area," Canary Islands regional president Fernando Clavijo told a news conference in Tenerife.

"Efforts are focused on preventing the fire from spreading and affecting mainly residential areas close to the coast."

At the moment, the fires are 19 km away from Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife's main town.

Are flights still running to Tenerife?

Tenerife has two airports. 


Tenerife South, also known as Reina Sofia Airport, operates the most international flights. So far flights have not been affected by the fires.

Tenerife North, formerly known as Los Rodeos, handles mostly domestic flights. So far flights have not been affected by the fires.

Local pilot Stani Klajban posted a photo taken while flying over Tenerife with the caption "This really doesn’t look good".

What is the advice from airlines if you are due to fly to or from Tenerife?

None of the major European airlines, such as EasyJet, Ryanair, Jet2 and Wizz Air, have so far cancelled any flights to or from Tenerife.

Airlines have been contacted for comment.


British Airways Holidays issued a statement saying they are monitoring the situation.

As always, check airlines' apps or websites for the latest information on your flight before going to the airport.

European air passenger rights mean that if your flight is delayed by more than 3 hours or cancelled you are entitled to a refund, assistance and, in some cases, compensation.

What happens if you want to cancel your holiday?

It is natural to feel worried about travelling to Tenerife or anywhere else that is affected by an emergency.

But at the moment governments have not warned against travel to Tenerife. This means that airlines and travel companies do not have to cancel flights or issue refunds.


If you have a health condition that means you are likely to be affected by poor air quality, it is worth asking your travel insurers if they will cover incurred costs if you do want to cancel.

How to stay safe during wildfires

There have been many wildfires around Europe this summer. Prolonged and more intense heatwaves, caused by climate change, increase the risk of wildfires. Strong winds also make them more difficult to contain, as seen in Maui in Hawaii last week.

During these wildfires, the vast majority of residents and tourists have evacuated before fires reached them.

The local government is Tenerife has issued a warning of poor air quality. This is in place for the municipalities of Guimar, Arafo, Candelaria and El Rosario.

Some groups are more at risk of difficulties from smoke inhalation, such as those with respiratory illnesses, asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, children, pregnant women, elderly people and people who are doing intense physical activity.


Symptoms of poisoning from smoke include coughing, eye, nose, or throat irritation, difficulty breathing deeply, heart palpitations, fatigue, or chest discomfort.

If you are in an area where there is smoke, Tenerife authorities have issued the following advice:

  • Stay indoors
  • Avoid intense or prolonged physical activity
  • Close windows, doors and if you have air conditioning put it in recirculation mode and make sure the filters are clean
  • If you have to go outside, wear an FFP2 mask and wear eye protection.

Above all, follow the instructions of officials and authorities at all times.

Share this articleComments

You might also like