Tenerife 2023 Wildfire

Updates and Resources: Tenerife 2023 forest fire

Summary of the Events

Cause of IFTenerife:

Fernando Clavijo, President of the  Government of the Canary Islands, confirmed on Monday, August 21st that the start of the flames was provoked by human actions and that they likely carried out their actions “with the perverse intention of selecting the most challenging location” for firefighters (La Provincia, 2023).

Impact of IFTenerife:

IFTenerife started to burn on August 15th, was declared “Controlled” on September 11th, and finally extinguished on November 10th 2023. IFTenerife was the most devastating fire in the Canary Islands in the last 40 years and the most severe in Spain in 2023 (La Provincia, 2023); The fire affected nearly 12,000 hectares, burning 7% of the surface of Tenerife, and causing 80.4 million euros of damage (RTVE, 2023). The forest fire has caused approximately 12 million euros of damage to the agricultural sector (RTVC, 2023), including 2,500-3,500 hives that were destroyed (Canarias Radio, 2023).

In addition, it caused more than 12,000 people to have to be evacuated throughout the course of the fire (La Provincia, 2023), 364 farms and 246 buildings were affected (Registradores de España, 2023). Up to 60 protected species may have been impacted by the forest fire, but the true impact on these species is not yet known (Tenerife Ahora, 2023).

Recovery from IFTenerife:

The Cabildo will request a special employment plan from the Canary Island Government to recover the forests in Tenerife (El Digital Sur, 2023). The Cabildo will promote a specific line of support for the primary sector which was severely impacted by the forest fire (Cabildo de Tenerife, 2023). The Spanish government council of ministers has declared the area impacted by IFTenerife as a catastrophe area (Canarias Ahora, 2023).

The future of fighting forest fires in Tenerife:

Up to 5,000 professionals have come together to form the Association of Foresters of Spain in the Canary Islands (Televisión Canaria Noticias, 2023).

Rosa Davila, President of the Tenerife Cabildo, has supported a permanent seaplane base in the Canary Islands (Rosa Davila, 2023). A group of forest firefighters in the Canary Islands advocated investing in reorganizing and professionalizing the firefighting teams rather than creating a seaplane base (UGT Bomberos Forest Canarias, 2023). The Cabildo of Tenerife allocates 7.7 million for fire helicopters in the period 2024-2028 (RTVC, 2023).

March 29th and 30th 2023,  60 members of the Forest Fire Community participated in a debate designed to achieve a common positioning of the Forest Fire Community at the Spanish level. In June that statement was released revealing the 15 declarations, agreed by leaders and experts in forest fighting, that the Spanish Government must do in order to prevent forest fire disasters. Read the full statement here. Please consider signing up to be a member and signing the adhesion to the declaration.

Records: 16th August - 11th September, 4th October - 17th October


13th October 2023

10th October 2023

7th October 2023

6th October 2023

5th October 2023

Summary: The Government of the Canary Islands declares INFOCA level 2 of the Tenerife forest fire and assumes management. The military rejoins the firefighting efforts accompanied by 4 helicopters. 3,000 people are to be evacuated. 

4th October 2023

Summary: High temperatures, wind, and low humidity aggrevate the previously controlled fire. Reactivations occurred in Carril del Polvo, Pino Alto, La Corujera. The Cabildo of Tenerife has committed firefighters and 2 helicopters to extinguish the fire, and some of the reactivations were stabilised by the end of the day.

11th September 2023

10th September 2023

Summary: Today firefighters continue to fight reactivations in Santa Ursula, the fire is stabilised but not controlled yet.

8th September 2023

Summary: Today the operation is made up of 110 people involved in the extinction of fire, 2 Cabildo helicopters operating in Santa Ursula, logical personnel, 15 people doing restoration labor, and 20 people keeping forest tracks clear. Small reactivations occurred today in Acentejo and La Orotava.

7th September 2023

Summary: The Cabildo of Tenerife maintains an operation of 110 people on the ground, 15 restoration workers, and 20 people adapting forest tracks. One helicopter was rerouted for a rescue mission in Playa de Rojas. Small areas of reactivation have been spotted in Pinoleris and La Orotava.

6th September 2023

Summary: Reactivations occurred today in Arafo and La Orotava. The frontlines today are made up of 110 people in extinction work, 2 Cabildo helicopters,  Coordination and logistics personnel,  15 people in restoration work, and  20 people attending to the adequacy of forest tracks

5th September 2023

Summary: Today the operation deployed is made up of 110 troops on the ground, coordination and logistics personnel, 15 people working on soil restoration, 20 people adapting forest tracks, and 1 helicopter. There was a reactivation in Garachico today. Fernando Grande-Marlaska announced that the municipalities affected by the forest fire this summer have been declared a catastrophic area. 

4th September 2023

Summary: The operation deployed today includes 70 people to extinguish and monitor the fire, 15 people who are carrying out restoration work to protect the soil, coordination and logistics personnel, and two state helicopters. The Cabildo de Tenerife begins a series of visits to the municipalities affected by the fire to learn first-hand about the situation in each municipality. 5,000 professionals have come together to form the Association of Foresters of Spain in the Canary Islands

3rd September 2023

Summary: Despite the rain and high humidity the fire is still not controlled and access to the affected mountains is still prohibited. State security has increased vigilance on access roads due to many people being spotted using the mountain.

2nd September 2023

Summary: The Minister of the Natural Environment, Blanca Pérez , calls on the population “not to go to the mountains” as Cabildo staff have detected numerous people walking along the tracks and trails in these areas, as well as people on bicycles and on horseback. The fire is not yet in a controlled state as there have been reactivations in the north. Grade 1 measures have been removed in areas not currently affected by the fire.


1st September 2023

Summary: Today the frontlines are made up of 114 personnel and 4 helicopters who will be attending the reactivations that occurred throughout the day and night in La Orotava and Acentejo. Up to 60 protected species might have been affected by the forest fire in Tenerife. 

31st August 2023

Summary:  The conversation about permanent hydroplanes stationed in the Canary Islands has picked up, with the leader of the Cabildo of Tenerife stating the need for one. Estimates of the damages have been published: 364 farms and 246 buildings, 12 million in damage to the primary sector, 3,500 bee hives lost, and 39 endemic species at affected. Access to Teide is slowly opening.

30th August 2023

Summary: The frontlines today are made up of 135 people on the ground and 4 helicopters. The final 20 people evacuated have returned home. As we look to the future of the Canary Islands, 5,000 gather at Profor Canarias with a manifesto that recognises the archipelago is a tinderbox if something is not done and the Cabildo allocates 7.7 million euros to fund fire helicopters until 2028.

29th August 2023

Summary: Yesterday the forest fire was dropped to a level 1 emergency, and the Cabildo of Tenerife will assume responsibility. Data regarding the severity of the burn has been released. Today the frontline operation is made up of 135 people who have been deployed on the ground plus coordination and logistics personnel. The Aquamansa Canal was temporarily out of operation. Some 20 people from Santa Úrsula continue to be evicted as a preventive measure

28th August 2023

Summary: The forest fire in Tenerife drops to Level 1 and Cabildo Tenerife assumes the direction of the emergency, furthermore, the Canarian government ends the alert situation for risks of forest fires in Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, and Gran Canaria, starting at 1:00 p.m. The Pino Alto water tank continues to be at sub-optimal levels and the city council asks for residents to use water responsibly. The Red Cross continues its work delivering food around northern Tenerife, and some of their colleagues have been able to return to Las Palmas.

27th August 2023

Summary: Last night a hotspot was reactivated and the upper part of Vera del Barranco and Las Rosas were evacuated in a preventive manner. UME troops, the hydroplanes, and Firefighters from Gran Canaria have been able to withdraw from the island. Today the frontlines are made up of 94 ground troops and 8 helicopters. Air quality has decreased and is now considered unfavorable.

26th August 2023

Summary: Some small hot spots remain, in particular Eastern area of ​​La Orotava. Some firefighters who were attending the frontlines have been able to return, Today the frontlines are made up of 118 ground troops and 7 helicopters. The seaplanes have been able to withdraw. The air quality has improved and is between reasonably good and regular, so special self-protection measures are no longer necessary.

25th August 2023

Summary: Last night the fire was announced to be stabilized, the second phase of four. This decision was made after the fire did not spread over the 90 km perimeter and 14,750 hectares after 48 hours.  All evacuated people have returned home. 

24th August 2023

Summary:  Overnight there were two separate incidents of reactivation of the fire in Aguamansa, La Orotava, and Güímar. However, for the first time since the fire began the fire perimeter has not advanced. The tasks of fire extinction are focused today on finishing off La Hornaca and Montaña El Cerro, in Tacoronte, where there are houses very close to the line of fire; Mal Abrigo in Güímar, and Barranco Hondo in Candelaria. The frontlines today are made up of 600 troops of which about 300 carry out extinction work, 197 in security, 40 in logistics, and more than 100 volunteers. Until 9 pm 237 people remained evacuated.

23rd August 

Summary: Last night fires restarted in the upper part of the northern and southern slopes. Today the fire may restart across the perimeter due to the high temperatures. Work today will focus on controlling the fire on the northern slope, Güímar Valley, Las Dehesas, and Mal Abrigo. 20 aerial vehicles, and 610 troops, of which 255 are direct intervention, 197 security, 40 logistics and 160 volunteers from different municipal groups are on the frontlines today. On the northern slope of the island and two areas on the south slope (Candelaria and Güímar), the air quality has been changed to ‘very unfavourable’.

22nd August 

Summary: The fire now affects 14,751 hectares with a perimeter of 90 kilometers. 37% of the land affected is in La Orotava but the fire has affected 12 municipalities. 0 people or houses have been affected. A resident of Güímar has been arrested for throwing stones and damaging a helicopter involved in the firefight. The only fire front that is active at the moment is Mal Abrigo, in Güímar, however, the area is particularly difficult due to the orography. Today the frontlines are made up of 20 aerial vehicles, 610 troops, of which 255 are direct intervention, 197 security, 40 logistics, and 160 volunteers from different municipal groups. Later in the day, many evacuation orders were lifted, 8,355 people returned home.

21st August 

Summary: The work last night prevented the fire on the northern flank from spreading to homes and the Izaña observatory. The focus for the day will be containing the fire on the Güímar flank. The fire has impacted ​​13,383 hectares with an 88 km perimeter. 969 people and 300 pets remain sheltered. The frontline workers include 22 Aerial vehicles, 275 firefighters, 115 security personnel, and 40 dealing with logistics. Air quality has worsened in northern municipalities. Pedro Sanchez, President of the Government of Spain arrived in Tenerife today and indicated that the areas impacted by the fire will be declared a disaster area.

20th August 

Summary: The overnight situation was “better than expected”, The Aguamansa canal is now operational, the La Abejera-Hacienda medium voltage line has been reactivated, The fire has impacted 12,800 hectares and has a perimeter of 84 km. The current focus is to consolidate SE Arafo to La Esperanza, avoid breakout in Guimar, and the Orotava Valley front.

19th August 

Summary: Overnight the fire has worsened in the north. Authorities carried out evacuations in neighborhoods of La Orotava, La Matanza, La Victoria de Acentejo, El Sauzal, Santa Úrsula, and Tacoronte. The fire has now impacted 8,398 hectares with a perimeter of 70 km. The number of evacuated people has been updated to 12,279.

18th August 

Summary: Fire is still not controlled, 37km2 affected, 42km perimeter, there was a slower spread overnight, the current focus is stabilising fronts near towns: El Rosario, and La Orotava, there has been damage to Canal Aguamansa which could affect water access for homes above TF5. More than 300 ground troops and 15 aerial vehicles to fight the fire today

17th August 

Summary: The fire is still out of control, 3273 hectares affected with a 41km perimeter, tough conditions (terrain/climate/wind) to tackle the blaze are present but the defensive lines in La Esperanza, Santa Ursula, and La Orotava are starting to have an effect

16th August 

Summary: The fire is spreading rapidly and is now affecting 1600 hectares with a perimeter of 22 km. Evacuations in Arrate, Chivisaye, Media Montaña, Ajafoña, the upper part of Igueste de Candelaria, the margins of Camino La Cuestita, from the confluence with the Caminos La Morrita and Partes Caminos, the upper area of ​​Araya, and from Cruz del Camino to Los Brezos. On the frontlines, there are 10 aerial vehicles including 3 hydroplanes and 150 workers.

Informative posts

Videos and imagery of the impact of the forest fires

Reconnaissance flight of the Brifor del Cabildo helicopter over the area affected by #IFArafoCandelaria #IFTenerife  on August 22nd

Images of the area affected by the fire in the upper part of Candelaria, taken by the helicopter of #GES on the 21st of August

This is the evolution of the #IFArafoCandelaria #Tenerife fire from yesterday (19) afternoon until this morning (20) on the north face.

Images of Bomberos de Tenerife by the Crown Forest of La Orotava.

Images taken by the agents of the #BRIFOR on the 16th of August

Firefighters and the frontline

The head of the metropolitan area of #bomberostf , Ibrahim Ben Mohamed, tells us about the operation during #IFArafoCandelaria .

Videos of firefighters controlling the fire perimeter in the early hours of the 25th August 2023

Intervention of the helicopters of #GES carrying out unloading in the upper area of ​​Güímar on August 23rd

Firefighting in Güímar on August 22nd.

These images taken at dawn on August 20 in Benijos, La Orotava, of the Brifor troops of the Cabildo Tenerife

Controlled burning by #Brifor to secure areas on the north slope.


How does the Canadair CL-215T Seaplane of the #43 Air Force Group work?
This tweet from the Batallion T15 describes how the hydroplanes being used while fighting the forest fire in Tenerife works: 1. Telephone notice: A call from the General Directorate for Biodiversity warns of the existence of a fire. It will indicate who is the director of the mission, the place of the accident, and the conditions of the accident. 2. Water collection: once landed, the CL-215T is capable of collecting 6,000 liters of water in just 12 seconds and 400 meters. 3. Download and extinction: The discharge can be carried out with or without a foaming agent depending on the conditions of the fire.

Why do the Canary Islands not have a permanent hydroplane?

In this Twitter thread, Fénix Canarias (Forestry Service of the Canary Islands) discusses why the Canary Islands do not have their own hydroplanes: With the cost of maintaining and flying a “seaplane”, we could maintain several helicopters which, in the Canary Islands, are more efficient. This is due to a number of complex factors:

  • Due to the orography of the islands and the small surface area of ​​the freshwater masses it contains, amphibious planes must descend to the coast to refill water in the sea, while helicopters can load rafts or ponds near the fire.
  • Where a plane takes about 15-20 minutes between loading and unloading, helicopters unload constantly.
  • The greater maneuverability of helicopters allows them to access areas where it would be dangerous for airplane pilots to try to access

Videos of the hydroplanes at work

Videos and photos showing the impact of the fires

Drone images taken by GES showing the impact of the forest fire 14 days after the start of Tenerife’s forest fire.


Video footage of Izana August 26th 2023

Images of the consequences of #IFArafoCandelaria #IFTenerife in Izaña and the affect it has had on the Valley of La Orotava.

Shelter, Refuge, and Volunteers

From the Emergency Logistics Center, the volunteers have not stopped preparing the supplies for the lunches that we are delivering to the people sheltered in the 4 shelters that we manage and to the personnel that intervenes in the emergency.

Our volunteering is an example of the best that #humanidad has. Where there is suffering to alleviate and a hand to lend, there you will see it. Thanks to our emergency teams for #ProtegerlaHumanidad

Gratitude and expressions of thanks for those on  the frontlines

THANK YOU to all the people who are working to combat #IFArafoCandelaria #IFTenerife . Tenerife will be eternally grateful and these images of the Brifor helicopter show one of the ways to express it

A warm farewell to the one that @BrifPuntagorda received at the north airport of #Tenerife

Fruit baskets from the Guimar city hall for members of 1-1-2 Canarias

Rosa Davila, President of the Tenerife Cabildo, “Huge gratitude from Tenerife to Group 43 of @EjercitoAire for their courageous work in the extinction of #IFTenerife #IFArafoCandelaria . Their dedication and effort have been key to stabilizing the fire. Thank you so much!”

On August 24th, Puertos de Tenerife installed a 30-meter-long banner thanking the people who fought against the fire on the island and, in particular, the seaplane operators.

thank you port banner

Essential Resources

Official emergency communication

We used hashtags #IFArafoCandelaria #IFTenerife and the following Twitter accounts to stay up to date during the events. 

1-1-2 Canarias

Civil Guard

Cabildo Tenerife

Presidencia GobCan

Other organisations covering the events

Sanidad Gobcan



Cruz Roja Tenerife

Cátedra Riesgos ULL

Bomberos de Tenerife

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