Tenerife firefighters stabilise huge wildfire after nine days

MADRID (Reuters) - Firefighters have stabilised a huge wildfire that has burned for 10 days on Tenerife, ravaging thousands of acres of woodland on the largest of the Canary Islands, authorities said late on Thursday.

There was a risk that hotspots inside the fire's perimeter, which spread to around 90 km (56 miles), could still reignite, "especially in the central hours of the day," the island's emergency services said on the social platform X, formerly known as Twitter. Teams were working to contain those.

The fire, which started on Aug. 15, has destroyed about 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres) of woodland within the national park surrounding the Mount Teide volcano, Spain's highest peak.

It forced the evacuation of some 13,000 people, most of whom have since been allowed to return home. Canarian authorities have described it as the archipelago's worst ever wildfire.

Elsewhere in Europe, firefighters have been tackling devastating blazes in Greece, Italy and Portugal, driven by searing temperatures and dry and windy conditions that scientists have linked to climate change.

On Tenerife, hundreds of firefighters have been deployed to contain the flames, along with 20 aircraft that have scooped up water from the island's already depleted reservoirs, triggering concerns among farmers already trying to combat the effects of a dry 2023.

So far this year, wildfires have destroyed just over 65,000 hectares in Spain, in line with recent averages but well below the 228,000 burnt over the same period of 2022, the worst year in a decade, according to official data.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro; editing by John Stonestreet)