CANARY ISLANDS president Fernando Clavijo has said that the Tenerife wildfire which started on Tuesday was the ‘worst in 40 years’.

Firefighters are encountering soaring temperatures and dense smoke to bring the blaze under control in the north of the island.

The fire is centred on a mountain area with pine trees that is difficult to get to, with over 4,500 people evacuated and thousands more told to stay indoors.

Confinement for around half of the 3,800 residents of El Rosario was lifted on Friday.

The flames cover a perimeter of 40 kilometres encircling some 4,000 hectares of land.

Around 600 firefighters and soldiers are in the area which is 20 kilometres away from the island’s main town, Santa Cruz.

President Fernando Clavijo said that Friday’s efforts would be crucial to containing the fire and said that a combination of high temperatures and the fire had turned the area into a virtual oven.

The mayor of Candelaria- one of the affected municipalities- Maria Concepcion Brito Nuñez told TVE that that firefighters had claimed that water being poured into on the flames was evaporating before hitting the ground due to the high temperatures.

The army’s Emergency Unit said that dense clouds of smoke were impairing visibility for firefighters and preventing many water-carrying aircraft from getting close.

Captain Rafael San Jose said some progress had been made overnight in stopping the fire’s spread but that rising temperatures were presenting issues.

Temperatures reached around 30 degrees on Friday but are expected to rise over the weekend.

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