• October 12, 2023
  • Staff
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Weather experts say the high temperatures are forecast to continue.


Authorities on the Canary Islands have closed schools temporarily as soaring temperatures hit the 8-island archipelago.

The extreme heat has also rekindled a vast wildfire on Tenerife.

The Spanish island group off the northwest coast of Africa normally experiences mild, spring-like weather during the school year, so many classrooms don’t have air conditioning.

Recent temperatures, however, have been off the scale. Some areas of the archipelago have been scorched by 38C and higher.

Reports of students fainting and suffering heatstroke prompted the closures.

Canary Islands hit by soaring temperatures

The mercury hit 38.5C in Adeje in the south-west of Tenerife on Monday, and 37.8C in Arucas in the north of the neighbouring island of Gran Canaria, according to Spain’s meteorological agency, Aemet.

Weather experts say the high temperatures are forecast to continue. In response, the Canary Islands’ education minister Poli Suárez 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 schools in the Canaries,” he told reporters.

Extreme heat revives massive wildfire

The high temperatures also helped to revive a wildfire in the northeast of Tenerife, which already destroyed about 15,000 hectares of woodland over the summer.

About 100 firefighters backed by nine water-dropping helicopters have been 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 11 September, but was never fully extinguished. 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, Rosa Dávila, wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

The high temperatures are expected to last until Sunday.

As global temperatures rise due to the climate crisis, scientists have warned that heatwaves will become more frequent and more intense. September 2023 was the hottest September globally since records began in 1850.

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