Thousands evacuated as wildfire rages in the Canary Islands

Second major blaze in a month at holiday hotspot

By Julia Hollingsworth, CNN
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A wildfire has engulfed 24,710 acres (10,000 hectares) on Gran Canaria.

LAS PALMAS, Canary Islands - Over 9,000 people have been evacuated as wildfires rage on Spain's Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa, officials said.

Despite four seaplanes unloading over 1 million liters of water onto the blaze, and the efforts of 600 firefighters, the fire has continued to grow, according to a statement Monday by the Canary Islands Department of Safety and Emergency.

The blaze began over the weekend and has now engulfed 24,710 acres (10,000 hectares) on Gran Canaria, a popular holiday destination that is home to 900,000 people, making it the second-most populous of the Canary Islands.

Officials are now hoping that wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour and a drop in temperature could help firefighters, who were working through Monday night, to combat the flames.

"This is a very serious fire, a great forest fire and you have to rely on the magnificent work of those who fight it," Torres said in the statement.

This is the second major blaze on the island this month. A wildlife at the beginning of August caused 1,000 people to be evacuated. Ten air crafts and over 200 ground troops worked to tackle that blaze, which affected over 1,000 hectares of land.

During that crisis, firefighters said in Spanish that they were "overwhelmed by the situation," adding "we are fighting for our island!!!"

At the time, Torres said local authorities had requested help from the government in Madrid and the Military Emergencies Unit in Seville.

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