POLICE have confirmed that the Tenerife wildfire on the north of the island was deliberately started, according to Canary Islands president Fernando Clavijo.

Clavijo said police had opened three lines of inquiry but had no news of any arrests.

Meanwhile the Canarian government is hopeful that around the 12,000 people evacuated as a precaution since Tuesday will be able to return home this Monday.

“The worst is over,” said Clavijo in an interview with radio station Cadena SER.

“We hope people can return to their homes today,” he added.

Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will visit Tenerife this Monday to check out the affected areas for himself.

Improved weather conditions helped firefighters make advances overnight in their battle to tame the blaze that has raged out of control for the past five days.

The islands’ emergency services says that 12,800 hectares of pine forest and scrubland had been incinerated.

No injuries have yet been reported, and governor Rosa Davila thanking the firefighters and pointing out that no houses have been burned so far.

The blaze, described as the worst in Tenerife in 40 years, threatened 11 town areas flanking a steep and craggy mountain area with access for extremely difficult for fire crews.

The state meteorological service Aemet predicted temperatures of around 30 degrees this week for Tenerife.

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