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Large Forest Fire on La Palma, Canary Islands

28.7N 17.9W

August 3rd, 2009 Category: Fires

Canary Islands Fire - August 1st, 2009

Canary Islands Fire - August 1st, 2009

La Palma, Canary Islands - August 1st, 2009

La Palma, Canary Islands - August 1st, 2009

A forest fire fanned by high winds has forced the evacuation of about 4,000 residents on the Canary Island of La Palma, off the West African coast, the Spanish government said Saturday.

Flames raging on steep hillsides southeast of the island’s dormant San Antonio volcano have engulfed several houses and could damage wildlife habitats reported an environmental worker.

A plume of smoke rose from the island to an estimated height of more than 1,000 meters (3,300 feet). Here, the plume can be seen blowing to the southeast off the southern tip of La Palma. A smaller fire has been controlled on La Gomera, 30 kilometers (18 miles) southeast of La Palma, visible in the center of the image.

The islands of Tenerife (right) and El Hierro (bottom left) are also visible. Some smoke hangs in the air north of El Hierro, while the northern side of La Gomera is flanked by rippled wave-clouds.

The cause of the fire on La Palma is unknown. Several days of high temperatures have contributed to dry conditions on the normally verdant La Palma – one of the least developed and greenest of Spain’s Canary Islands.

Virtually all the island’s firefighting forces, including several aircraft, have been deployed to combat the blaze at three points around the town of Fuencaliente.

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