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Last Updated: Monday August 03 2009 06:17 GMT

Battle to control La Palma fires

Fire on La Palma

Huge forest fires in the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, are still burning out of control.

Planes are being used to drop water on fires, which are raging on the island of La Palma. But firefighters have been forced to pull back from the flames.

Around 4,000 people, including many tourists, have had to leave their homes and hotels.

Lots of people on holiday in La Palma have been unable to catch their flights home because roads are closed.

The worst fires are around the towns of Fuencaliente and Mazo, both very popular with tourists.

The Spanish Prime Minister has promised to help those affected by the blazes.


Plane drops water on fire
Plane drops water on fire

In Fuencaliente more than 20 homes were destroyed by the flames.

At least one fire is thought to have been caused by a stray firework let off during a local festival.

There are fears the flames could spread to an observatory which is home to the world's largest telescope.

The Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory has been operating for more than 20 years, and a new telescope was officially opened last month.