Spain’s Canary Islands on Tuesday ordered the temporary closure of schools due to scorching temperatures on the archiapelago that have set records and helped revive a huge wildfire on Tenerife.
The seven-island archipelago located in the Atlantic off the north-west coast of Africa typically experiences spring-like temperatures all year, but temperatures have recently soared to around 38 deg C in some parts.
The mercury hit 38.5 deg C in Adeje in the south-west of Tenerife on Monday, and 37.8 deg C in Arucas in the north of the neighbouring island of Gran Canaria, according to Spain’s meteorological agency AEMET.
With the heat forecast to continue, the archipelago’s Education Minister Poli Suarez announced classes would be suspended on Wednesday and Friday. Thursday is a public holiday in Spain.
“We want to prioritise the safety of boys and girls at all school in the Canaries,” he told reporters.
Local media said there had been several cases of students fainting or suffering heatstroke in recent days in the Canaries.
The high temperatures helped once again rekindle a wildfire in the north-east of Tenerife, which already ravaged around 15,000ha of woodland over the summer.
About 100 firefighters backed by nine water-dropping helicopters were battling the blaze, the regional government of the Canaries said in a statement.
The blaze first broke out in mid-August, and was declared under control on Sept 11, but was never fully put out. Small fires have continued to ignite periodically in the same area due to winds and the heat.
“High temperatures make extinguishing work difficult and new reactivations are possible,” the head of the regional government of Tenerife, Ms Rosa Davila, wrote on social network X, formerly called Twitter.
The high temperatures are expected to last until next Sunday.
As global temperatures rise due to climate change, scientists have warned that heatwaves will become more frequent and more intense.
Source: Straits Times