Raging Canary Islands wildfire sparks mass evacuation

A wildfire on the Spanish holiday island of Gran Canaria has devastated at least 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) and forced the evacuation of hundreds of people.

Firefighters, backed by aircraft and helicopters, were trying to contain the blaze that started on Saturday. An emergency military unit specialized in fighting fires has also been deployed, said the regional government of the Canary Islands.

Read more: Looking for whales, finding dolphins in the Canary Islands

Man questioned

On Sunday, police said they had detained and questioned a man for allegedly starting the fire using welding equipment.

Emergency services evacuated around 1,000 people overnight as a precaution, although the fire has not reportedly destroyed any homes.

Televised images showed the fire burning on a hillside on the volcanic island near the western municipality of Artenara. The regions of Tejeda and Galdar were also affected.

The Canary Islands are located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Morocco.

cw/cmk (AP, AFP, dpa)

Every evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.