Forest Fires on La Palma

Every summer there is a high risk of forest fires in the Canary Islands. Almost every year the forest burns on one of the islands.

In July 2016 one of the biggest forest fires of the last decades, which affected large parts of the Cumbria and even claimed a human life, was ignited by the stupidity of a young German eco-tourist.

In July 2012, it even burned on three islands simultaneously. Tenerife, Gomera and La Palma were affected. On La Palma, the fire was very violent but remained locally limited because the easterly winds prevented further spread on the Cumbre. The fire started in the forest at the Cumbre between El Paso and Las Manchas and then went down the slope towards the Aridane Valley. This unfortunately destroyed some houses and properties, but fortunately, people were not harmed.

Open fire is forbidden between May and September, but some locals or tourists do not adhere to this and therefore, there are often controls by helicopter. In 2009, the pine forest at Tigalate in the east of La Palma was hit by an aggressive forest fire. Nobody died, but some places had to be evacuated, many houses burned down.

Calima ignites Forest Fire

Hot drop winds at the cumbre walls and flying sparks favored the spread of the fire. It had probably been ignited by outdoor fires, grilling, burning cigarette butts or glass bottles left lying on the dry pine needles. Extinguishing in rough terrain was difficult due to the persistent hot desert wind Calima. Only the wide lava tongues in the south of La Palma slowed down the fire roll like firebreaks. The forest between Tigalate and Los Canarios was damaged.