A raging fire has broken out on the Spanish island of La Palma today – prompting a panicked evacuation.
The fire broke out shortly after 1 a.m. in Punta Gorda – a wooded area in the north of the popular Canaries island.
The government of the Canary Islands has issued a Level 2 emergency alert as firefighters battle the deadly storm.
Horrifying images show smoke billowing from the forest on the side of the mountain, spreading to houses and cars.
At least 11 houses have been destroyed by the flames so far, said Fernando Clavijo, the president of the Canary Islands.
“The number of people who need to be evacuated could reach 1,000,” Clavijo told reporters.
“It depends on whether we can control these strong winds.”
A total of 346 acres of land has been destroyed, he added.
Four choppers and four fire units are on the ground to bring the fire to the island.
Emergency services are now seeking help from nearby islands – such as Gomera and Tenerife.
The Red Cross has set up a center in Tijarafe for those evacuated – and another is being set up at the sports center in Los Llanos de Aridane.
It comes as Brit holidaymakers have become warned on a “red alert” for the heat wave In the Canary Islands the temperature is set to 41C.
The map is SpainThe meteorological agency AEMET reports that extreme heat has hit Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, and Santa Cruz de la Palma.
But the highest will be recorded in Gran Canaria as shown in purple which means that the mercury will exceed 40C.
The extreme heat prompted AEMET to issue an orange alert – which was upgraded to a red alert on Thursday.
Meteorologists have announced that 2023 is the year of El Niño – a natural phenomenon that occurs around the world and causes changes in the global climate.
The UN’s World Meteorological Organization has said that it will increase the temperature around the world, and the effects may last throughout the year.