Gran Canaria: 8,000 flee wildfires on Holiday Island

About 8,000 people have been evacuated as wildfires rip through Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, report agencies. The fires, which started on Saturday, are advancing on two fronts in a mountainous area of the island. Ten planes and helicopters, as well as about 700 firefighters on the ground including 200 from the military, are being deployed.

Efforts to tackle the fires are being hampered by high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity, officials say. Hundreds of firefighters worked through the night to try to tackle the blaze. "The fire is not contained nor stabilised or controlled," Canary Islands regional president Angel Victor Torres told a news conference.

Requests for assistance had been made to the Spanish central government, he added. The fire has so far spared the areas most popular with tourists but it is advancing towards the island's Tamadaba natural park, home to some of Gran Canaria's oldest pine forests. The fires started near the town of Tejeda. Around 1,700 hectares (4,200 acres) have been destroyed and 11 roads have been closed. Hundreds of people were evacuated due to separate wildfires on the holiday island last week.