Mass evacuations as huge mountain fire threatens to engulf holiday homes in Gran Canaria

HUNDREDS have been evacuated from their homes after a huge fire on the holiday island of Gran Canaria threatened to spiral out of control.

This morning, the emergency authorities confirmed troops are now being called in to fight the blaze which is affecting a 900 hectare area in the mountains of Artenara.

The blaze is believed to have been sparked by a man using a soldering iron and a 55 year old has been arrested by local cops.

Last night, the emergency was downgraded after firefighters believed the flames were under some sort of control but extra air help has now been called in.

And this morning Gran Canaria fire brigade tweeted: “We are overwhelmed by the situation. We continue working and fighting for our island !!!”

Numerous villages have been evacuated and around 900 residents spent the night in municipal buildings including sports centres, schools and community halls.

Red Cross officials confirmed no residents have been injured although they are very worried about their homes as several properties have been burned.

At least a dozen small population centres were evicted during the night due to the proximity of the fire.

Two firefighters needed treatment for burn injuries.

Soldiers from the Emergency Intervention Unit from Los Rodeos (Tenerife) are now being brought in to help firefighters.

The municipalities of Tejeda, Artenara and Gáldar are among the locations evacuated with the districts of Las Peñas, El Tablado, El Rincón, Juan Fernández, La Culata, Peña Rajada, Las Arbejas and Las Crucitas all affected.

At least one tourist campsite has been evacuated and the smoke is clearly visible from the air from all parts of the island and from Tenerife.

The fire started in Artenara which is in the western part of Gran Canaria in the mountains and about 20 miles from the capital of Las Palmas.

According to bulletins, the fire spread rapidly through the summit last night but there were hopes it was being brought under control.

This morning, the island’s council tweeted: “During the morning, 10 air means will be incorporated into the #IFArtenara extinction tasks at the #GRANCANARIA summit.

“Nine helicopters from different Administrations (State, Government and Cabildo) and an airplane will participate.”