Hola From Tenerife

Subscribe to our free newsletter to get an (ir)regular ray of Tenerife sunshine in your inbox. Just enter your email address below.

Delivered by FeedBurner



Festivals in Tenerife and other large gatherings are still not able to be held with social distancing and other restrictions still in force. Events listed here, therefore, are subject to cancellation or change without notice. Such circumstances are beyond our control.

Please like and follow our facebook page for more updates >>

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Tenerife Fire: the evacuation and aftermath

As I'm writing this, there are helicopters circling over the Teno mountains every few minutes, so we imagine that the fire must have reactivated again nearby. You may have deduced from the international media reports (most of which bear little resemblance to the truth) and my absence, I was one of the thousands in Tenerife who were evacuated because of the forest fires. And here I will make a couple of public personal thanks, first to Jack and Andrea Montgomery of Real Tenerife Island Drives, who kindly put this "refugee" up in their own home. Please buy lots of copies of their guides to pay for all the food I ate! :)

Secondly, if you should ever find yourself in need of urgent temporary hotel accommodation for your animals in Tenerife (dogs, cats, parrots, iguanas, tortoises, rabbits and more), I can thoroughly recommend the Hospital Veterinario Tenerife Norte, who looked after my "furry tribe" of four cats and a dog for the night.

The other saint of animalsApart from the fact that our lovely vet, Dr. Ana, one of the owners and founders of the hospital, approved a "numerous family" discount, even on such short notice, their handling of me, under well, shall we call them, reasonably stressful circumstances, was reassuring and marvelous: something I really appreciated too.

Evacuation: We were woken up here in the higher part of the El Palmar valley; Las Portelas and Las Lagunetas at 5 a.m. on Tuesday morning, when the Civil Guard were going door-to-door telling people to leave.

The sky above the mountains at the head of the valley was vivid red against the darkness and the fire looked to be in danger of coming in this direction.

The larger risk was the smoke, which was getting quite strong already while we were all outside damping down houses and surrounding plants and trees in an attempt to make them less flammable. Fortunately, the wind changed and took the fire back the other way, but if winds can change once, they can do it again and it could so easily have been much worse for us.

The fires have left us without DSL at times here, as John at Sorted Sites points out, that the fires "caused some of Telefonica's ADSL internet servers to go down, leaving many people without internet access."

Masca Village Destroyed

The emblematic and picturesque village of Masca, which is just over the mountains from here, was not as fortunate as we were and, we are still scratching our heads over how the fire could get down into that valley.

Reports vary widely between 4 houses burnt to the whole village having been turned to ashes, but frankly we do not know what is the real situation yet. Yesterday, the roads to Masca were still closed: they would not even let local inhabitants through to give food and water to the animals that have survived and have been without both for days. As you will see from this video though, the lower estimates look to be rather over optimistic:

El caserío de Masca desaparece bajo las llamas

Everyone in this valley has family or friends in Masca, who will probably have lost everything. This article in El Dia talks of the desolation and lists amongst others affected, an English girl, named as Susana, who has lived with her partner, Calvin, for 16 years in a house that they built themselves. The reports says that, having contained a lot of wood, it burnt completely.

The news about another English girl, married to an Italian, and who had only recently bought a house in Masca in the last 6-7 months and that they are restoring as a rural hotel, we are hoping at this point is better. Reports are that their house has escaped the flames and that their goats - which came from my friends Gregorio and Fernanda - are safe and sound.

If the international media coverage of the fire has been awful (more on that later here), the local media coverage, with one notable exception, has been not much better. That exception is Canarias7, who put together a special on the fire, including this good use of Google Maps to show the area affected by the fire, which was started on the right hand side of that brown shaded area, near Icod el Alto.

Francis at Television Daute in Los Silos was doing the best he could to bring live information on Tuesday, but his efforts were seriously hampered, because phone lines were out there and he had no links to his cameras in the affected areas. On Wednesday morning, the larger local stations were showing what happened on Tuesday still, only they weren't making that entirely clear, so one had absolutely no idea how things were progressing. In particular, I had no idea if I was allowed to return home, the town hall weren't manning phones and I had to phone a neighbour in the end to find out.

When I did come home on Wednesday, there was still a strong smell of "barbecued" pine in the air. Since coming home, I don't think I've been off the phone for long and we're all suffering "post traumatic stress" here, because we're all sniffing for burning smells and looking into the sky, temporarily worried that a grey cloud behaving like smoke could indeed be smoke.

Besides that, the helicopters continued to circle today, collecting water from the reservoir at Las Portelas here in the El Palmar valley, roughly once a minute. That seems too frequent for a simple cooling exercise, which adds to the concern. From there, they seem to be dropping the water over the area of Los Carizales, between here and what's left (if anything) of Masca.

For certain this fire is something that nobody here will forget in a hurry.

No comments:

Tenerife Topics

Adeje Almond Flower Route April in Tenerife Arafo Arico Arona Ash Wednesday Auditorio de Tenerife August in Tenerife Brexit Buenavista del Norte Burial of the Sardine Canarian Cuisine Canaries Day Candelaria Candelmas Carnaval de Día Carnival 1987 Carnival 1988 Carnival 1989 Carnival 1990 Carnival 1991 Carnival 1992 Carnival 1993 Carnival 1994 Carnival 1995 Carnival 1996 Carnival 1997 Carnival 1998 Carnival 1999 Carnival 2000 Carnival 2001 Carnival 2002 Carnival 2003 Carnival 2004 Carnival 2005 Carnival 2006 Carnival 2007 Carnival 2008 Carnival 2009 Carnival 2010 Carnival 2011 Carnival 2012 Carnival 2013 Carnival 2014 Carnival 2015 Carnival 2016 Carnival 2017 Carnival 2018 Carnival 2019 Carnival 2020 Carnival 2021 Carnival 2022 Carnival 2023 Carnival Foods Carnival History Carnival Main Parade Carnival Queen Santa Cruz Carnival Queens 2001-2020 Carnivals of the World Children's Carnaval Parade Chinyero Christmas in Tenerife Christopher Columbus Comparsas Corazones de Tejina Corpus Christi COVID-19 Craft Fairs Daytime Carnival December in Tenerife Día de la Cruz Día de San José Easter in Tenerife El Gordo Christmas Lottery El Rosario El Sauzal El Tanque Epidemics in Tenerife Farmers Markets Fasnia February in Tenerife Fiesta Nacional de España Fiestas de San Juan Fiestas El Palmar Flavours of Christmas Free Tour Garachico Granadilla de Abona Guía de Isora Güímar History of Tenerife Icod de los Vinos Innocent Saints January in Tenerife Jardín Botánico July in Tenerife June in Tenerife Junior Carnival Queen La Gomera La Guancha La Matanza de Acentejo La Orotava La Palma Eruption La Siervita La Victoria de Acentejo Las Burras de Güímar Las Celias de Tenerife Los Cristianos Los Cristianos Carnival Los Gigantes Los Gigantes Carnival Los Indianos Los Realejos Los Reyes Los Silos March in Tenerife Masca Mascarita Ponte Tacón May in Tenerife Monuments and Sculptures in Santa Cruz Municipal Holidays Municipalities Fiestas Nelson's Attack on Santa Cruz 25 Jul 1797 New Year in Tenerife Nochebuena November in Tenerife October in Tenerife Opening Parade Parade of Vintage Cars Public Holidays Puerto de la Cruz Puerto de la Cruz Carnival Rally Calendar Recipes for All Saints Day Rhythm and Harmony Comparsas Romería de San Roque Romerías San Andrés San Antonio Abad San Cristóbal de La Laguna San Juan de la Rambla San Miguel de Abona San Sebastián Santa Cruz de Tenerife Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival Themes Santa Úrsula Santiago del Teide Senior Carnival Queen September in Tenerife Shrove Tuesday Simón Bolívar Summer Carnival Tacoronte Tegueste Tenerife Carnival Dates Tenerife Disaster Tenerife Fire Tenerife Month by Month Tenerife Museums Tenerife Rally Tenerife Walking Festival Tenerife Weather Tenerife Wines Teno Rural Park This Is Tenerife (TIT) Town Halls in Tenerife Traditional Fiestas Tropical Storm Delta Vilaflor de Chasna