Thousands of holidaymakers and residents are told to evacuate as wildfire sweeps across Gran Canaria and 700 firefighters and 200 soldiers are called in to tackle the blaze on Spanish island

  • The area is popular with British tourists, dozens of whom had to evacuate from hotels and rented apartments 
  • Around 1,700 hectares of ground have been burned and 11 roads have been closed due to the blaze
  • High temperatures, strong winds and low humidity have hindered attempts to control the fire 
  • The wildfire, which started on Saturday near the town of Tejeda, is sweeping in on two fronts
  • The municipalities of Tejeda, Valleseco, San Mateo, Galdar, Moya and Artenara have been affected 

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Tourists were among at least 4,000 people evacuated today as wildfires swept through parts of Gran Canaria.

Hotels in the centre of the holiday island were closed as a combination of high temperatures and strong winds turned the region into a tinderbox.

Tonight the fire, which erupted near the town of Tejeda, was moving on two fronts.

It is the third such wildfire to hit the island in a week and people are being moved to safety from as many as 40 towns, however the main tourist strips along the coast are unaffected, officials said. 

Nearly half of Spain's provinces were on alert on Sunday due to a high risk of fires, according to the country's weather agency, AEMET. 

A helicopter drops water to fight a forest fire seen ravaging the countryside in the central village of Valleseco, Gran Canaria

A helicopter drops water to fight a forest fire seen ravaging the countryside in the central village of Valleseco, Gran Canaria

It is the third such wildfire to hit the island in a week and people are being moved to safety from as many as 40 towns

It is the third such wildfire to hit the island in a week and people are being moved to safety from as many as 40 towns

Flames and smoke from a forest fire are seen in the village of Valleseco. The  is a town and a municipality of Las Palmas province, on the Canary Islands. It is in the northcentral part of Gran Canaria.

Flames and smoke from a forest fire are seen in the village of Valleseco, a town and a municipality of the Las Palmas province in the northern part of Gran Canaria

Around 1,700 hectares of ground have been burned and 11 roads have been closed due to the blaze which has led to 4,000 people evacuating their homes

Around 1,700 hectares of ground have been burned and 11 roads have been closed due to the blaze which has led to 4,000 people evacuating their homes

Ten planes and helicopters, as well as around 700 firefighters on the ground including about 200 from the military, have been battling the blaze

Ten planes and helicopters, as well as around 700 firefighters on the ground including about 200 from the military, have been battling the blaze

People watch the smoke emerging from a forest fire at a beach in the village of Agaete, in Gran Canaria.

People watch the smoke emerging from a forest fire at a beach in the village of Agaete, in Gran Canaria.

Hotels in the centre of the holiday island were closed as a combination of high temperatures and strong winds turned the region into a tinderbox. Firefighters tackled the blaze on the ground on Saturday (pictured)

Hotels in the centre of the holiday island were closed as a combination of high temperatures and strong winds turned the region into a tinderbox. Firefighters tackled the blaze on the ground on Saturday (pictured)

The municipalities of Tejeda, Valleseco, San Mateo, Galdar, Moya and Artenara have been affected. 

Around 1,700 hectares of ground have been burned and 11 roads have been closed and officials described the fire as having 'great potential' to spread.

The island was experiencing temperatures close to 40C, humidity levels below 30% and strong winds, which usually provide what experts call the 'perfect storm' for strong wildfires.  

Gran Canaria is currently on orange alert for very high temperatures and there are real fears about how the fire will evolve. 

Those evacuated include guests who were staying at the Hotel Parador de Cruz de Tejeda which is in the heart of the area where the latest mountain blaze broke out. 

The evacuated hotel is a mecca for tourists who want to stay in the north of Gran Canaria. 

As with the two previous fires in the last eight days, hotels in the main beach areas of the island are not affected. 

The regional president of the Canary Islands Angel Victor Torres said: 'The fire is not contained nor stabilized or controlled.

'The environmental damage has already been done. We are facing a complicated situation in which the security of people is the priority now.' 

He added he had spoken by phone with Spanish acting prime minister Pedro Sanchez to request central government help.

Ten planes and helicopters, as well as around 700 firefighters on the ground including about 200 from the military, were battling the blaze. 

Gran Canaria is one of Spain’s Canary Islands, off northwestern Africa. It sits between the popular tourist islands of Tenerife and Fuerteventura

Gran Canaria is one of Spain’s Canary Islands, off northwestern Africa. It sits between the popular tourist islands of Tenerife and Fuerteventura

A satellite image shows smoke emerging from the island. The incident has led to tourists and residents evacuating the impacted areas

A satellite image shows smoke emerging from the island. The incident has led to tourists and residents evacuating the impacted areas

A plane drops water to fight a forest fire seen in the village of Valleseco. Officials warned tackling the blaze was being complicated by high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity

A plane drops water to fight a forest fire seen in the village of Valleseco. Officials warned tackling the blaze was being complicated by high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity

Residents observe smoke billowing from a forest fire raging near Montana Alta on the island of Gran Canaria. Authorities on the Spanish island evacuated residents as a forest fire broke out just days after another blaze raged in the same area

Residents observe smoke billowing from a forest fire raging near Montana Alta on the island of Gran Canaria. Authorities on the Spanish island evacuated residents as a forest fire broke out just days after another blaze raged in the same area

People on a seaside promenade watch a firefighting plane as it prepares to touch down and collect water from the sea at the bay in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

People on a seaside promenade watch a firefighting plane as it prepares to touch down and collect water from the sea at the bay in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Residents observe smoke billowing from a forest fire raging near Montana Alta. Around 700 firefighters on the ground including about 200 from the military, were battling the blaze

Residents observe smoke billowing from a forest fire raging near Montana Alta. Around 700 firefighters on the ground including about 200 from the military, were battling the blaze

Flames rise from a forest fire raging in Montana Alta on the island of Gran Canaria. The island is currently on orange alert for very high temperatures and there are real fears about how the fire will evolve

Flames rise from a forest fire raging in Montana Alta on the island of Gran Canaria. The island is currently on orange alert for very high temperatures and there are real fears about how the fire will evolve

The island was experiencing temperatures close to 40C, humidity levels below 30% and strong winds, which usually provide what experts call the 'perfect storm' for strong wildfires

The island was experiencing temperatures close to 40C, humidity levels below 30% and strong winds, which usually provide what experts call the 'perfect storm' for strong wildfires

Smoke rises from a forest fire that continues to burn land in Moya, Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands. The wildfire is advancing on two fronts in a mountainous area of the island

Smoke rises from a forest fire that continues to burn land in Moya, Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands. The wildfire is advancing on two fronts in a mountainous area of the island

People observe the flames and smoke billowing in the night's sky near the village of Valleseco. Ten planes and helicopters were battling the blaze

People observe the flames and smoke billowing in the night's sky near the village of Valleseco. Ten planes and helicopters were battling the blaze

Nearly half of Spain's provinces were on alert on Sunday due to a high risk of fires, according to the country's weather agency, AEMET

Nearly half of Spain's provinces were on alert on Sunday due to a high risk of fires, according to the country's weather agency, AEMET

Three more planes are on their way to the area. 

Tejeda was evacuated last week because of an earlier wildfire. 

Wildfires are common in southern Europe during the hot, dry summer months with experts warning of the potential for dangerous wildfires in Spain throughout the summer due to the record temperatures seen.  

A woman evacuated from her home looks at the forest fire seen in the village of Valleseco, in the Canary Island of Gran Canaria

A woman evacuated from her home looks at the forest fire seen in the village of Valleseco, in the Canary Island of Gran Canaria

The regional president of the Canary Islands Angel Victor Torres said: 'The fire is not contained nor stabilized or controlled'

The regional president of the Canary Islands Angel Victor Torres said: 'The fire is not contained nor stabilized or controlled' 

People who were evacuated from their homes watch a helicopter dropping water to fight a forest fire seen in the village of Valleseco

People who were evacuated from their homes watch a helicopter dropping water to fight a forest fire seen in the village of Valleseco

People who were evacuated from their homes look at a forest fire seen in the village of Galdar on the Canary Island of Gran Canaria, Spain

People who were evacuated from their homes look at a forest fire seen in the village of Galdar on the Canary Island of Gran Canaria, Spain

A woman evacuated from her home looks at a forest fire seen in the village of Galdar. The municipalities of Tejeda, Valleseco, San Mateo, Galdar, Moya and Artenara have been affected

A woman evacuated from her home looks at a forest fire seen in the village of Galdar. The municipalities of Tejeda, Valleseco, San Mateo, Galdar, Moya and Artenara have been affected

A plane drops water to fight a forest fire seen in the village of Galdar, in northern Gran Canaria

A plane drops water to fight a forest fire seen in the village of Galdar, in northern Gran Canaria

A woman looks at several smoke columns emerging from a forest fire near the village of Agaete, in Gran Canaria

A woman looks at several smoke columns emerging from a forest fire near the village of Agaete, in Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria wildfire means 4,000 people are told to evacuate as 700 firefighters tackle the blaze 

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