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  1. ITV Report

Gran Canaria 'monster' wildfire forces thousands to evacuate

At least 9,000 people have been evacuated from their homes on Gran Canaria, one of Spain’s Canary Islands, where firefighters are battling a wildfire which has burned more than 23 square miles of land.

The out of control blaze, described by the local fire department as "a monster," is racing across the parched woodlands into Tamadaba Natural Park.

In a press conference on Monday, authorities called the incident "an unprecedented environmental tragedy".

The blaze has been described as 'a monster'. Credit: AP

Canary Islands President Angel Victor Torres said 1,100 firefighters were being deployed in shifts along with 16 water-dropping aircraft to battle the blaze that started on Saturday afternoon.

The local government said around 14,800 acres had been burned in just 48 hours.

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Emergency workers faced huge flames and gusting winds that blew embers into the air, starting secondary blazes, local fire officials said.

Summer temperatures on Monday were expected to hit 36C (nearly 97F) and build to 38C (100F) later this week.

Famous for its beaches and mountains, Gran Canaria and its capital, Las Palmas, are popular holiday destinations for Britons and others across Europe.

A helicopter operates over the wildfire Credit: Arturo Jimenez/AP

The Spanish caretaker government’s farm minister, Luis Planas, told a news conference in Las Palmas that Madrid sent a "cutting-edge" drone to the island which can livestream images of the fire at night.

Mr Planas also said the official response to the fire on Gran Canaria was one of the greatest firefighting deployments recently in all of Spain.