Published On: Sun, Aug 11th, 2019

Gran Canaria: Wildfires force thousands to evacuate holiday destination popular with Brits | World | News

An emergency has been declared in Gran Canaria, with the tourist hotspot suffering from out-of-control wildfires that have overwhelmed the island. Firefighters are struggling to control the raging wildfires that have ravaged more than 1,000 hectares on the popular tourist destination. Terrifying aerial footage of the wildfires reveals the devastating scale of the ongoing inferno, which can even be seen from space. 

Thousands have already evacuated the holiday island, as the vast blaze continues to race towards a national park and area popular with holidaymakers.

The volcanic island is a popular summer destination for Britons, with nearly a million UK tourists estimated to visit the island every year.

The wildfire was allegedly started after a local resident used a soldering iron on open land near his house on Saturday evening.

A 55-year-old Spanish man has since been arrested in connection with the fire, which began 20km from capital Las Palmas.

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Firefighters said: ‘We are overwhelmed by the situation. We continue working and fighting for our island.”

Firefighters have deployed planes and helicopters to fight the fierce blaze.

Alongside firefighters, more than 120 troops have worked to extinguish the flames in Jucalillo and the Tamabada Natural Park.

Despite these efforts, a series of secondary outbreaks on Sunday morning forced officials to declare a higher level of emergency.

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson said: “Staff at our consulate in Las Palmas are monitoring the situation and stand ready to assist any British people who need help.”

Witness Carla Rodriguez described the scene as “one of the most painful images I’ve seen in my life” as she travelled to a local festival in Juncalillo with some friends.

She said: “After the party, when we returned, we decided to look again to see how much the fire had progressed and seeing it out of control was devastating.

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