Forest fire that erupted on the Spanish island of La Palma led to the evacuation of at least 500 people, authorities announced today.

This is the first natural disaster on the island after the volcanic eruption in 2021.

The fire started in the early hours today at El Pinar de Putagorda, a forest area in the north of the island at Canary Islands as many European cities prepare for extreme heat next week.

At least 11 houses were destroyed as the fire progressed, as Fernando Clavijo, president of the Canary Islands, said today.

“The number of people who have to be removed could reach 1,000. It depends on whether we can bring these strong winds under control,” Clavijo told reporters in La Palma.

About 140 hectares (346 acres) of land were destroyed by the fire, he added.

Four helicopters and four firefighting units on the ground battled to bring the blaze under control on the island, which is part of a Spanish archipelago off the west African coast.

The authorities of the island they were asking for help from other islands in the archipelago, such as Gomera and Tenerife.

In September 2021, more than 2,000 buildings were destroyed and many thousands of people were forced to flee their homes when lava began pouring out of the Cubre Vieja volcano