Spain: Island wildfire eases, lets evacuees return home

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Spain: Island wildfire eases, lets evacuees return home
A hydroplane operates on a wildfire in Canary Islands, Spain, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019. The wind dropped in the Canary Islands Tuesday, allowing firefighters to make progress against Spain's biggest wildfire so far this year and raising the possibility some evacuated residents may soon be able to return home. (AP Photo/Arturo Jimenez)

MADRID (AP) — Authorities in the Canary Islands say cooler temperatures and weaker winds are helping firefighters to progress in bringing Spain’s biggest wildfire so far this year under control, permitting just under half of the more than 10,000 people evacuated to return home.

The islands’ emergency service tweeted Wednesday that the “favorable development of the fire,” meant 4,500 evacuees could go back home.

Spanish national television said it was hoped that some 6,000 more people would be able to return later in the day.

More than 12,000 hectares (46,000 square miles) have been charred on the western slopes of Gran Canaria, a popular tourist island off northwestern Africa. No injuries were reported.

Acting Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles said Tuesday the blaze may be contained in 48 hours.