The fire burns more than 1,000 hectares of the Teide National Park and leaves irreparable damage to the broom

The forest fire that has plagued Tenerife for ten days and is already stabilized after burning more than 14,700 hectares in twelve municipalities, managed to penetrate more than 1,000 square meters of the Teide National Park and caused serious damage to the ecosystem, especially in the broom

The before and after of the area affected by the fire in Tenerife, seen from a satellite

The before and after of the area affected by the fire in Tenerife, seen from a satellite


“I have been here since 1994 and it is the largest burnt area, and each year that passes the fires are of greater magnitude,” Manuel Durbán, director of the national park, details to Europa Press, who nevertheless lowers the initial estimates of the direction of the fire that placed the condition in almost 3,000 hectares.

Durban points out that the behavior of the fire “has been strange” since there were many “tongues of fire” that entered the park, “jumped” and affected some ravines and not others, but he does not hide the fact that broom is the species most damaged by fires. calls.

Thus, he explains that it takes up to three decades to become an adult, so the young specimens, recently germinated, are lost and also, “the best brooms” were located in the eastern part, by Izaña and El Portillo, the most affected by the flames. .

The broom, which normally grows at an altitude of more than 2,000 meters, was once in danger of extinction and its use is only allowed occasionally for the production of honey, and apart from the fire, it is already suffering the effects of climate change due to rising temperatures and the action of herbivores introduced into the park, such as rabbits.

Durban also admits damage to the rosalito de cumbre and the grass pajonera, for example, but unlike the broom, its growth time is much shorter and it also assumes the loss of many invertebrates, more than half of them endemic.

He also understands that the lizard “has also been seriously affected”, he believes that the birds will have managed to escape by flying, but he predicts “serious survival problems” for species typical of the pine forest such as the blue finch or the woodpecker.

As for the mouflon, an introduced species that is very damaging to the park, he is sure that “they have all escaped” –there will also be deaths in rabbits– but Durban places special emphasis on native species, since populations are affected de rosal guanche and jarilla de cumbre and also the jopillo de cumbre, declared vulnerable.

Climate change, a threat

Apart from the environmental damage caused by the fire, Durban points out that the park is facing other problems such as climate change, given that the increase in temperature at the top is “double” that in the midlands and coast, something that especially impacts in the broom; the action of herbivores, especially rabbits and mouflons, which feed on endangered species, and the “extremely high” number of visits that Teide receives, which makes it necessary to “order” with some sustainable mobility system.

The other great threat to the park are forest fires, especially when they arrive with a “front as broad” as the current one and “it is impossible to stop them” with the park’s own operation since it is “small” and is only prepared to put out attempts. .

In fact, the fire was about to destroy the IAC telescopes in Izaña and the Aemet Observatory, which were defended with the flames at less than 50 meters.

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