The Tenerife forest fire has gone to level 1, so that from now on the coordination of the emergency will fall on the Island Council, despite the reactivation of the fire this weekend but always within the affected perimeter.
These reactivations are concentrated in two specific points: in La Hornaca (Tacoronte) and in Santa Úrsula, where the six houses that were evicted this Sunday will continue to be evicted for 24 more hours as a precaution, the president of the Cabildo de Tenerife has pointed out, Rosa Davila.
And as long as they continue to exist, the next phase will not be passed: consider the fire controlled, which could be brought forward with the arrival of the trade winds and the increase in humidity, has indicated the head of the forestry service of the Cabildo de Tenerife, Pedro Martinez.
Despite the “de-escalation” of media since the fire was considered stabilized, seven aerial media and the ground operation of the Government of the Canary Islands and the Cabildo de Tenerife continue to work in the area.
Rosa Dávila has advanced that on the afternoon of this Monday the safety conditions of the roads that give access to the Teide National Park will be evaluated, all closed except the one in the south, both for the means of extinction and for users, and will lower the level of fire risk in the unaffected municipalities.
On the other hand, in the municipalities affected by the fire, the current restrictions will be maintained, the main one, the prohibition to access the mountain.
Pedro Martínez has detailed that the efforts are currently focused on Santa Úrsula, which is where the most reactivations are taking place and closest to the perimeter.
It is an area of private mountain farms, “with a lot of material that burns easily”, such as eucalyptus trees, although in recent hours there have been reactivations in Las Lagunetas or in an area of La Esperanza above the ridge.
For this reason, he stressed that it cannot be said that the fire is technically controlled “until we have those points well closed. We are talking about a perimeter of 90 kilometers and we are focused on a very small space, but we must continue working ”, he added.
In general, the northern area of the perimeter affected by the fire is still active, since the southern area is “quite cold,” said Martínez.
On the affected area, he explained that two estimates are handled, one resulting from the location of the extinguishing means, with the limitations that this entails, since it is drawn with straight lines and does not conform to the topography of the area; and the other, that provided by the European Copernicus satellite system.
Regarding the latter, he has indicated that it is not exact either because it is detecting hot spots outside the area “controlled in the field” by the firefighting teams, which he attributes to the fact that the satellite may detect hot smoke that travels outside the perimeter or paveseo that don’t catch fire.
Until measurements are made on the ground with GPS means “we will not know exactly” what the affected area is, Martínez said, “but the normal thing is that if we talk about a perimeter of 14,000-15,000 hectares it is reduced a lot.”
The president of the Cabildo de Tenerife has stressed that “the data allows us to be optimistic” and make “a positive balance” given “the magnitude of the fire” and given “the voracity that” the fire had, since “no home has been affected ”.
The next step, once the fire is under control, will be to begin the evaluation work with a view to declaring a catastrophic zone.
The Government of the Canary Islands has commissioned a report to quantify the damage caused by the fire in Tenerife and has proposed a battery of measures to fight against emergencies of this type, such as an action plan or an employment plan aimed at working in areas of mount near houses.
This has been advanced in the press conference after the Governing Council by the spokesman and vice-councillor of the Presidency, Alfonso Cabello, who has delved into the fact that this employment plan would allow training people to carry out “efficient work” in the interface areas close to the medians.
Cabello has also assessed the passing of the fire, “in a very favorable evolution”, to level one, which transfers the responsibility of managing the emergency to the Cabildo de Tenerife.
In this way, the report will serve to evaluate the material and environmental damage and that the Council of Ministers can adopt with guarantees the agreement to declare the affected territory as a catastrophic zone and, in this way, they can prepare and identify “as quickly as possible ” budget items and economic needs based on the loss of goods and services, property damage and negative externalities, in addition to extraordinary damage for environmental regeneration.
With the aim of speeding up compensation as much as possible, the Canary Islands Government expects to have its damage report ready in four months, although within 30 days there will be progress with a first evaluation of the extraordinary costs of extinguishing the fire, together with the estimation of the losses of the tourism sector, as well as the costs of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.
There will also be a specific section to quantify the damage to agricultural and livestock farms, as well as the effect on the forest mass and the costs that regeneration will entail for the rapid and effective recovery of damaged ecosystems.
Cabello has also raised the need for a forestry law for the Canary Islands “to look at the mountains not so much in the midst of emergencies but to always work in a more coordinated manner.”
On this, a working group will be convened to seek consensus at the same time that the Committee of Experts for the Fight against Climate Change will prepare a report with specific measures to be adopted in the archipelago in the face of the threat, “every time more frequent”, of sixth generation fires.
The fire started on August 16 and is already under control after affecting an area of 14,751 hectares, with a perimeter of 90 kilometers.