Canaries fires force evacuations

Other News Materials 31 July 2007 16:24 (UTC +04:00)

( BBC ) - Forest fires on two of Spain's Canary Islands have forced the evacuation of more than 9,000 people, local officials have said.

The fires have burnt at least 24,000 hectares ( 59,000 acres) of land on the islands of Gran Canaria and Tenerife.

More than 100 firefighters are working with eight water-bombing planes to extinguish the four-day blaze.

On Saturday, police arrested a 37-year-old forest ranger who admitted to starting one of the fires.

The man told police his job contract was about to expire and he wanted to keep working, according to the AP news agency.

Local officials said that 5,200 people had been taken to safety on Gran Canaria and 4,200 people were evacuated from homes in Tenerife.