The victory of the operative in the battle of the slope of Tigaiga is decisive. So much so that already yesterday afternoon, on the fourth day of the fire that is ravaging the Corona Forestal in the north of Tenerife, the first optimistic forecasts began to arrive, such as that of the president of the Cabildo de Tenerife, Pedro Martín, who after 7:00 p.m. hours assured that “the fire is not perimeter or controlled but it is weakening and we hope to be able to contain it in the next few hours.”
Although this area of The Realejos has suffered many fires in recent decades, the flames had not yet entered the steep orography of the Tigaiga hillside. “What has happened in Tigaiga has surprised us because since 1903 it has not been burned, according to our data,” said Bernabé Gutiérrez, command of the forestry brigades (Brifor) of the Cabildo de Tenerife, the largest team (150 people) of the deployed operation after the fire broke out in Los Campeches on Thursday.
The fire entered the same cliffs where the mencey Bentor, penultimate aboriginal leader of the Menceyato de Taoro, fell in 1496, a ritual suicide so as not to surrender to the Castilian troops that had conquered his kingdom. On Saturday night and yesterday morning there was another very tough battle but this time against the flames. Added to the slopes and the heat were the stones and branches that fell down the slope dragging incandescent material that left a trail of new potential sources.
The operators, given the proximity of the town of Tigaiga, put all their efforts at this point and, late in the morning, managed to limit the flames with the decisive help of aerial means. “It seemed impossible. The fire was moving fast down the slope and many of the areas were inaccessible. But at least we managed to contain the situation, ”celebrated the Brifor command. The wind helped a lot, which did not exceed 15-20 kilometers per hour.
This factor, the attacks by the brigades, the fact that the flames ran out of vegetable fuel at the top and, above all, the more than a million liters of water released by the 11 helicopters and two seaplanes allowed the spread of the The fire slowed down on its multiple fronts, both in the aforementioned Tigaiga and in those of Icod and La Orotava, or those that headed towards the summit and the coast.
Prudence above all.
In any case, the authorities maintained caution because, as has been seen in this same fire, a sudden change in weather can make the situation worse again. And more so considering that hotter days are coming until Wednesday, which is when temperatures are expected to begin to drop. Julio Pérez, Security Councilor of the Government of the Canary Islands, summed it up thus: “The fire has weakened. There have been advances in the operation that we hope will be more significant in the coming hours.
On the fourth day, the fire in the Corona Forestal in the north of Tenerife leaves a balance of 2,700 hectares burned –500 more than in the balance on Saturday– in a perimeter of 27 kilometers –7 more than on Saturday–. Meanwhile, there are 585 people evicted, the same as the day before. They are found in the homes of relatives and friends or in 12 hotels contracted by the municipalities, mainly those in Los Realejos and La Orotava. These municipalities, as well as La Guancha, San Juan de la Rambla and Icod de los Vinos, suffer the consequences of the flames. The authorities allowed some of these neighbors to return to their homes for a reasonable time and always accompanied by members of the security operation. Another device that has worked is the care of animals, mainly pets, cattle and horses. Those who were in the areas closest to the flames have been taken to shelters and farms that have offered to take care of them while evacuations continue.
“Minimum” incidence in the Teide National Park.
The fire entered the Teide National Park on Friday, through the area of La Fortaleza, but according to information provided yesterday by the Cabildo de Tenerife, which manages the most visited natural area in the Canary Islands, its condition at this point has been “minimal”. », waiting for the evolution of the fire in the next few hours, which seems to tend to control. In this part of the summit, the key has been that the flames have run out of matter to burn.
Beware: more heat is coming.
The forecast is that the fire can be perimeter between today and tomorrow. But everything will depend on the weather conditions. And they are good in some respects and bad in others. For example, the weather forecasts suggest that the wind will continue to not exceed 15-20 kilometers per hour, which will help – like yesterday, Sunday – to stop the flames. On the other hand, the humidity will not exceed 30-40% and the temperatures will increase between today and tomorrow after moving between 28 and 33 degrees yesterday in the fire area. “The forecasts suggest that at least the rise in thermometers will not occur in the highest areas of the north face of the island, where this fire is developing,” clarified the Canarian Security Councilor, who stressed that “in the next few hours They will be decisive.”
The noise of seaplanes.
The two seaplanes of the 43rd Group of the Air Force, coming from the Torrejón de Ardoz Air Base (Madrid), did not stop flying over the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife yesterday at low altitude during the morning and afternoon. The seaplanes opted for the calm waters of Chicharrera Bay to load water and release it on the flames. They did it mainly in the capital’s port and Las Teresitas beach. The noise of the engines was the soundtrack of a suffocating Sunday, with temperatures that exceeded 33 degrees and an intense haze in Santa Cruz.
Some teams start to retreat; others join.
Some teams from Gran Canaria and La Gomera will return today due to the high risk of forest fires on their islands. The operation in the north of Tenerife, even so, will continue with more than 200 troops, as well as 13 aerial means. Professionals and reinforcement material will even arrive in an Airbus 310 from the 45th Group of the Air Force.
The forest fire in the north of Tenerife leaves devastating prints as you are: the Canarian pines burned by the flames, the smoke that still comes out of the mountain in the summits and a dead bird among burned trees, possibly a specimen of great spotted woodpecker.