The Devastating Effects of Forest Fires in Tenerife

Youth Climate Action Team Inc.
2 min readMar 22, 2024

The recent forest fires in Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands in Spain, have taken a significant toll on both the local environment and community. Around 3,000 individuals were forced to evacuate their homes due to the fires, which, as of August 2023, had devastated countless hectares of land.

According to CTV News, six separate municipalities on the Spanish Island are under threat. The damage inflicted on the local population alone is noteworthy, with many people losing their homes and businesses. It is crucial to address this issue and prioritize preventing future forest fires in Tenerife.

The ecological impact the forest fires have caused is alarming, with over 15,000 hectares being burnt — roughly six percent of the entire island’s surface area. Conditions in the Canary Islands have gotten much worse due to extended droughts, which are partially caused by altered weather patterns brought on by climate change. This has led to an upsurge in damage, further harming Tenerife’s wilderness and negatively impacting nearby ecosystems. More precisely, large vineyards have been damaged, causing a decrease in wine production, an industry that many locals rely on for a living.

Pinus canariensis, commonly referred to as Canarian Pine, is one of the world’s most fire-resistant trees and makes up around 60 percent of the Archipelago. Historically, these Canarian trees regenerate quickly even if burned. However, due to the immense intensity of the fires, the process of regeneration is slowing down, which has a detrimental effect on the habitats that support a wide variety of wildlife. Consequently, the long-term environmental effects of such damage can be drastic and result in significant ecological consequences for the area.

Tenerife’s forest fires have had an impact on more than simply the local wildlife and ecosystem. Thousands of individuals had to be evacuated from their communities as fire swept throughout the region. Another major effect of the fires has been the collapse of the tourism industry, which was a significant source of income for the communities. By allocating funds and resources for reconstruction efforts and financial support programs, officials can help the local population get back on their feet and restore communities to become liveable. Finally, in order to support the safe reintroduction of species and ecological restoration, future conservation efforts must prioritize the repair of areas that were impacted by the forest fires.

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Youth Climate Action Team Inc.

501(c)4 youth movement bridging the gap between non-climate groups & intersectional climate action. https://linktr.ee/officialycatinc