Wildfire on Canary Islands forces evacuation of 5,000

Wildfire on Canary Islands forces evacuation of 5,000
The fire on the mountains of the Canary Islands in this view taken from Santa Cruz de Tenerife island, Spain, early Monday, Aug. 19, 2019. Authorities on Spain's Canary Islands say around 4,000 people have been evacuated due to a wildfire that has ravaged more than 1,700 hectares (4,200 acres) since it broke out a day ago. (AP Photo/Andres Gutierrez)

MADRID (AP) — Authorities in Spain’s Canary Islands say a wildfire that is throwing flames 50 meters (160 feet) into the air has forced emergency services to evacuate more than 5,000 people.

Canary Islands President Ángel Víctor Torres says 1,100 firefighters are being deployed Monday on Gran Canaria, a mountainous volcanic island in the Atlantic Ocean archipelago off northwest Africa.

He says 14 water-dropping aircraft are due to join the battle against the blaze, which started on Saturday and has charred more than 3,400 hectares (8,400 acres).

Local fire officials say emergency workers are facing huge flames and treacherous wind shifts that are blowing embers into the air, starting secondary fires.

Gran Canaria is famous for its beaches and mountains. The island and its capital, Las Palmas, are popular European vacation destinations.