Thousands of residents and tourists including Brits have been evacuated from the Canaries as a forest fire continues to burn out of control on the Spanish island of La Palma.
It comes as southern Europe struggles to cope with searing heat, which has seen the mercury soar over 40 degrees Celsius in parts of Spain and Italy.
Officials say 4,255 people have so far been evacuated and 4,500 hectares (11,100 acres) of land has been consumed by the wildfire.
Fernando Clavijo, president of the Canary Islands, said there is some "resistance to abandoning the houses," but emphasised that the priority was saving lives.
Around 400 members of the emergency services are said to be tackling the blaze
1-1-2 Canarias via Twitter/Handout via Reuters
Clavijo said: "People come first, then the houses.”
He added: “The number of people who need to be evacuated could rise. It depends on whether we can bring these strong winds under control.”
On the reasoning for the wildfire’s rapid spread, Clavijo pointed to “the wind, the climate conditions as well as the heatwave that we are living through."
The fire started early on Saturday morning in El Pinar de Puntagorda, a wooded area towards the north of the island in the Canaries, before spreading south towards the settlement of Tijarafe.
A satellite image shows smoke spreading from wildfire on the Canary Island of La Palma on July 15, 2023.
Courtesy of Nasa Worldview/Handout via Reuters
Around 400 members of the emergency services are said to be tackling the blaze, including 150 Spanish firefighters.
A seaplane has been deployed, with another set to join on Sunday, local media have reported.
Spanish president Pedro Sánchez confirmed that he had spoken with Clavijo to convey his "solidarity with the people affected" by the fire and put "all the necessary means" at the disposal of La Palma's authorities.
Two years ago, the island was rocked by a volcanic eruption that destroyed 3,000 properties and hundreds of acres of farmland.