Hot ash is turning the sea black as runaway wildfires ravage Tenerife.
Officials described the fires as the “worst wildfires in 40 years,” with thousands evacuated as the blazes swept across the Spanish island.
As an uncontrollable forest fire rages, part of the sea has turned black as burning ash rains down.
Footage from the northeast coast resort of Las Caletillas shows the water covered in a layer of ash.
A local who filmed the harrowing images said: “Here you can understand the hell we are experiencing.
“The water in Caletillas is literally black with ash.”
Another image, taken from the coast near Candelaria, showed a thick line of ash from the devastating wildfire snaking through the sea.
The fires have burned more than 4,450 hectares of land in just 24 hours, forcing 7,600 people to evacuate their cottages and homes or stay indoors.
The outbreak erupted late Tuesday in a mountainous area between the towns of Candelaria and Arafo. Six communities on the island have now been affected.
Regional President Fernando Clavijo said the island has been transformed into a “virtual oven” as 250 firefighters work around the clock to contain the blazes.
He said: “This is probably the most complicated fire we’ve had in the Canary Islands, if not ever then at least in 40 years.”
Spanish authorities said their main goal is to contain the fire and prevent it from reaching more populated areas.
The island’s capital, Santa Cruz, is just 20 km from the blaze.
Clavijo said firefighters were on duty day and night but the fire remained out of control.
Families in the north who were told to leave their homes spent the night either with relatives or in emergency shelters or sports centres.
The fire has already destroyed one of Tenerife’s most famous sunset viewpoints.
The Chipeque viewpoint in Santa Úrsula is one of the most popular places for visitors and tourists to see Mount Teide.
Vicky Palma, forest fire adviser to Tenerife City Council, said there had never been a fire in the Canary Islands of the type that is currently affecting Tenerife.
She said: “We’re seeing a type of fire that we’ve never seen before in the Canary Islands.
“The fire generated convection in the 34 hours that it burned.
“The pillar of flames was also three to six kilometers high at night.
“What is in the sky between the capital of Tenerife, Santa Cruz, and the city of La Laguna is not clouds, but smoke from the fire.
“This creates its own meteorological conditions and affects nearby locations.”
Hot ash from the main fire areas is also transported by the wind and causes smaller new fires.
The threat of wildfires has increased after a heatwave hit the Canary Islands, leaving large areas bone dry.
Residents on the nearby island of La Palma, also part of the Canary Islands off the coast of North Africa, were urged to evacuate last month because of a wildfire during a period of scorching temperatures.
Weather experts have declared 2023 the El Niño year – a natural phenomenon that occurs cyclically and causes fluctuations in the global climate.
The United Nations World Meteorological Organization said temperatures are set to rise around the world and that this effect is likely to continue for the rest of the year.
And despite the heat this summer, Europe’s record temperature of 48.8°C – measured in Sicily in 2021 – was not reached and is currently not expected to be exceeded.