Public holiday in many municipalities tomorrow for Carnival Tuesday

Public holiday in many municipalities tomorrow for Carnival Tuesday

Tomorrow 25 February is a public holiday in many parts of Tenerife. Though not island-wide, it is a local fiesta that many council areas have chosen as one of their two municipal days. Many shops and offices will be closed in the non-touristic parts of the municipalities listed below which have done so: the full list of 2020’s national, regional, insular, and municipal public holidays is HERE.

Martes de Carnaval is a public holiday in these municipalities:

Adeje, Arafo, Arico, Arona, Candelaria, El Rosario, El Sauzal, Fasnia, Granadilla, Icod, La Matanza, La Orotava, La Victoria, La Laguna, Puerto de la Cruz, San Miguel, Santa Cruz, Santa Ursula, and Tacoronte.

Gran Canaria is burning again

Gran Canaria is burning again


Photo: Gran Canaria Cabildo.

Updated 24 February: At first light, an army Military Emergencies crew of 85 left Seville for Gran Canaria to join firefighting efforts which continue today. There are now 176 military personnel in the island to assist local crews which are themselves supplemented by bomberos from Tenerife and La Palma. Last night is said to have been extremely difficult for firefighters, who have worked ceaselessly to deal with one of the most active fronts which has reactivated near Tasarte. Secondary blazes have broken out and some points have had to be abandoned since conditions were such that firefighters could have been surrounded and trapped. Canarian President Torres says that the greatest worry now is the Reserva Natural de Inagua where this morning a little rain has fallen, and even though it is mucky and full of dust, it is rain, and welcome as such. Tonight, two sea planes will arrive to start assisting firefighting efforts now that conditions have improved sufficiently for them to help safely.

Updated 4.30pm: Sadly, things have not improved, and now the El hoyo and Tocodomán areas are preparing to evacuate. The fire has now spread to Inagua with the wind sending it towards La Aldea and Tejeda. Again. What a tragedy.  

Updated 23 February: The wild winds and calima-collapsed humidity have made firefighting very difficult in Gran Canaria overnight and this morning. Not least of the problems is that firefighting aircraft are struggling to carry out their manoeuvres safely. The army’s emergency unit has been called in as is quite normal for such blazes, and are adding to the ground efforts, which continue this afternoon in horrendous conditions. Some residents remain in accommodation centres, and one village was cordoned off because it couldn’t be evacuated – a ring of bomberos formed to defend them in their very houses. The public is asked to abide by all official notices, advice and instructions, with the Cabildo saying they hope – but can’t “expect” – things to improve this afternoon and, possibly, with the fire able to be classified as “under control”. Let’s hope so.

Original post 22 February: Many will remember last August’s devastating fire in Gran Canaria (see HERE), and tonight, in almost equally horrendous conditions, firefighting teams are back in action dealing with a blaze fanned by the very high winds forecast for the Canaries as a whole, and the extremely low humidity of around 30% that calimas bring with them. Some residents have been evacuated and, sadly, some houses have been burnt. The Cabildo has said, however, that despite the ferocious gusts of wind, 60% of this fire’s perimeter is stabilized. The problem is with the front near Tasarte towards Tasartico and, especially, the barranco to the west. Teams are currently working in dreadful conditions to contain that front of some 600m in a situation that is said with typical understatement from the heroic firefighters, to be “difficult”.  Once again, we go to bed and give a prayer for Gran Canaria.

Wild weather causes wide disruption across Canaries

Wild weather causes wide disruption across Canaries

Updated 8.30pm: The Canarian Government has announced that state schools throughout Tenerife will remain closed tomorrow because of the calima, and reopen on Wednesday. Of course tomorrow is a public holiday in some municipios anyway (see HERE) so their schools would be closed anyway, but the Government now confirms that no schools will return until Wednesday.

Updated 8pm: The Cabildo has said that two fires were reported as reactivated this evening in the Los Realejos municipio. The first in the mirador de La Grimona area has now been brought back under control while the other in the La Guancha area was a false alarm. The TF5 was temporarily closed again for emergency teams but the road has now been reopened.   

Updated 24 Feb 2pm: The Tenerife Cabildo has just announced that due to the weather and its expected evolution all recreation and camping areas will remain closed to the public until at least Wednesday. Even if conditions improve for their use, the Cabildo still needs to check them all and carry out any repair or restoration works needed after the storm. Further announcements will be made to confirm when they reopen.

Updated 24 February: At last, with the UK papers full of Mars-like images of a completely Tangoed Tenerife, the winds have started to die down. Now they’re just high winds rather than record-breaking hurricane-level sandstorm gales. It feels like it could be starting to pass. Unfortunately, Aemet’s monitoring shows a third wave of calima still to arrive tonight. It’s perhaps a bit too early to unbatten any hatches. 

In better news, the vast majority of those evacuated have been able to return home as all fires are now under control, with some actually extinguished. Tenerife President Martín says that Teide and Teno access roads have just reopened. Fred Olsen has confirmed that all ferry routes are now operating normally, while Aena says that all airports are operating but with reduced capacity, and so all passengers must check with their airlines for information about their specific flights before leaving for the airports which are still struggling for room with passengers waiting to depart.   

The emergency services control room reports that in this storm so far they have coordinated 968 incidents caused by winds, calima and costeros. Mercifully we are still without any reports of serious injuries, with no real human damage in what the Canarian Government is describing as the worst calima “in four decades”. Let’s hope that we continue with only material damage in the third wave tonight, but the general message is that the absolute worst might be over but this sandstorm still has some teeth left to bite us with.

Updated 11pm: Aena says that as of now all airports in the Canaries are operative except TFS. To date, 822 flights have been affected by the weather. All travellers are advised to consult with the airline direct as to the state of their planned fight because disruption is ongoing. 

Updated 10pm: The Tenerife Cabildo says that criticism of the Santa Cruz carnival going ahead is understandable, and that while it advised against attending due to weather conditions, the final decision was the responsibility of Santa Cruz Ayutmamiento. The Cabildo reiterates its advice, based on Aemet forecasts and reports from the Canarian Government’s Health Department, that the public should not leave home unless absolutely essential.  

 Tenerife President Pedro Martín has said tonight that the TF5 is now totally open to traffic, with no restrictions. Some 20 fires have broken out in urban areas throughout the day in six municipalities, mainly in the north. All fires are currently either under control or stabilized. Two fires, one in the area of Las Arenas in Puerto de La Cruz, and another in La Quinta in Santa Úrsula, reactivated and fire crews are currently still working in these areas. They are expected to be brought under control in coming hours when winds are expected to reduce to between 70 and 80km/h. 

Some 400 residents who were evacuated from Santa Úrsula to the La Victoria Sports Centre and other council properties have been able to return home, and some tourists who were evacuated from the hotel La Quinta Park have been able to return to their own acccomodation.

Alternatives are being sought for the thousands of tourists who have had flights affected today and who remain stuck in Tenerife. The Cabildo says that occupancy is currently high because of the season and carnival, so there aren’t ready spaces in tourist accommodation. Some, indeed, are trapped in TFS, and supplies for personal hygiene and blankets, etc., have been sent to the airport for them.  

All recreation areas in the mountains remain closed, under order of the Cabildo’s Environment Department. Also closed is access to the Teide National Park where the winds are strongest. We will be informed when they are reopened.

Updated 8.30pm: Over the last several hours, the wind has died down a bit and is expected to reduce strength as the evening progresses. The fires that broke out throughout the day, particularly in the north, are now controlled or at least stabilized. Some houses have been affected, some residents evacuated including a residential care home for the elderly which was affected by smoke, but in the main damage has been minimal considering the wild conditions. Many have lost electricity at least for part of the day, and Endesa is still engaged in restoring supplies where they remain off: the company says that it expects everyone’s electricity to be back on by morning at the latest. Most importantly in all this, there have been no human casualties.

Around 500 individuals have been engaged in dealing with the problems caused by the conditions, including forestry brigades, the army emergency unit, both Consorcio and volunteer bomberos, as well as all the police forces and charity units. Meanwhile, Canarian air space has been closed throughout the day and travellers are still advised to check all flights with airlines, but the President of the Canaries, Ángel Víctor Torres, has said in the last five minutes that Tenerife airports remain closed but Gran Canaria has just reopened, and the airports in the other islands are partially operational.   

Ferries are operating normally, the Ports Authority says, On the roads, the TF5 is partially reopened after being closed to traffic to prioritize firefighters; it was reopened fully some hours ago but one lane has since been closed as one fire has reactivated. The authorities are firm in their request, however, for the public to stay indoors and only venture out if it is absolutely essential. State schools have been closed tomorrow because of the weather, not because of holidays, though because of carnival, tomorrow is a public holiday in Santa Cruz only, and Tuesday is a public holiday in several municipalities who choose Martes de Carnaval as one of their two local holidays. All recreational areas, as well as access to the National Park, are also closed, as has been Siam Mall – usually priding itself on opening 365 days of the year.      

The Tenerife President is about to give his press conference and I’ll update as soon as he has spoken.

Updated 5.45pm: President of Tenerife Pedro Martín has said that an update will be given to media at 8.30pm about the developing situation of the calima and winds, as well as the various fires that have broken out today in Tenerife. The Cabildo has asked the public to stay home, and avoid going anywhere unless they absoutely have to.

Updated 4.30pm: This short video will hopefully give an idea of the type of conditions where fires have broken out. This situation is still developing and the calima is still getting worse.


Updated 23 Feb 4pm: The Canarian Government’s Education Department  has announced in the last half hour that given the forecast, all school is suspended tomorrow, Monday 24 February. Please note that this concerns public system schools. Some private schools will have classes.

Updated 23 Feb 2.30pm: In the last half hour, Aena has announced that due to worsening conditions, no traffic is being allowed to approach any Canarian airports. Aircraft headed for these islands are being diverted to alternative airports. The public is instructed to check with their airlines as to the state of their flights and not to go to the airport before doing so.

Updated 23 February: Malls closed, public and municipal events cancelled all over Tenerife, electricity on and off like the proverbial, it is still blowing an absolute hoolie … and I mean hurricane level gusts. One recorded overnight at Izaña near the observatory registered 163km/h, and Adeje now has a new record of a gust of 134km/h. When they say it’s dangerous, they mean it, and those who seem to take joy in reporting “nothing here, it’s lovely” are engaged in an inexplicable wind-up which serves only to annoy in the context of 112 Control Room reports that it has had to deal with over 550 incidents in Tenerife alone just last night and this morning.

Ferries stopped sailing at one point but on resumption, a Fred Olsen catamaran collided with the Armas ferry as it tried to dock in Los Cristianos. This morning, however, Fred Olsen Ferries has confirmed that routes are operating normally apart from the LZ-FTE route and the internal connection in La Gomera between San Sebastian and Valle Gran Rey. 

Flights are gradually recovering their schedules, though many are suffering delays still. TFN and TFS are open, however, and incoming flights are, if anything, being assisted by the winds. Other airports in Gran Canaria, La Palma and El Hierro are being closed and reopened as conditions allow. The official advice is for all passengers to check with their airlines for confirmed information about their specific travel plans. 

Meanwhile, fires have been breaking out throughout Tenerife, some recorded in La Orotava, Los Reajelos, Güímar, Santa Ursula, La Guancha and Puerto de la Cruz. Some areas have been evacuated, and the public is asked to take extreme precautions and to abide by all official advice and instructions. These fires are often caused by sparks from cables hanging after being blown around or dislodged, the wind hampering all efforts to contain them, let alone get them under control. Thankfully, however, nothing is as bad in Tenerife as the poor souls in Gran Canaria who are battling another awful fire.

For Los Chicharreros, however, Carnaval holds a very special place in their hearts, the product of it being banned under General Franco, so it takes a storm of this magnitude to cancel it in extremis. And after caution ruled last night, Carnaval has reasserted itself today, and Santa Cruz Ayuntamiento has announced it continues, weather or no!

Updated 22 February: As promised, the wind came. And the calima. It is horrible, and it is having a considerable disruptive effect on travel. In particular, both Tenerife airports were temporarily closed to national and international arrivals  and some 230 flights were affected. Aena has confirmed in the last hour, however, that operations are resuming progressively at both TFN and TFS. As of 10pm they are allowing inter-island flights and a limited number of national/international ones. The Spanish Government and Air Navigation Authority have both advised travellers affected by the exceptional situation to confirm all travel arrangements with the airline concerned. Gran Canaria airport has been confirmed as reopened.

Original post 21 February: Aemet has issued a warning for very strong winds from tomorrow afternoon, intensifying on Sunday, in all parts of all the Canaries, as part of a weather depression. The wind will be from the east and so the gales will bring calima with them, and very wild seas. Gusts are expected up to 120 km/h in some parts, especially at altitude and in the medianías (600-1500m). There are Met Office orange alerts for extremely strong wind and atmospheric dust; around the coasts this translates to Gale Force 7 so Emergency Services say that they are in no mood for pranks or foolhardiness, and that they will charge for any rescues required by those who have not taken the warnings on board. Conditions are expected to start to improve on Monday, increasing on Tuesday. Take care, everyone.  

Tickets now available for Lion King 2: The Return of Scar which comes to Los Cristianos auditorium on 30 April

Tickets now available for Lion King 2: The Return of Scar which comes to Los Cristianos auditorium on 30 April

It was an utter smash this time last year, and this year it’s back, or rather its sequel is coming! Lion King 2: The Return of Scar will be in Los Cristianos auditorium on Thursday 30 April. The show starts at 7pm and tickets are now available online for €15. This stunning performance brings exotic dance, music, the African savannah, and a hugely famous storyline to Los Cristianos’ auditorium at 7pm on 30 April. Tickets costing €15 are available online HERE, but last time they sold out very very quickly … so be fast!

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The Pasión 2020 – Adeje’s Passion Play on Good Friday 10 April

The Pasión 2020 – Adeje’s Passion Play on Good Friday 10 April

Adeje’s Easter passion play is full of drama and emotion, and this year’s preparations for the performance on Good Friday, 10 April, are already underway. Although some 300 actors take part each year, by far the majority of performers are residents in the municipality. And again this year, Adeje Ayuntamiento has issued a call for those who would like to be more than a spectator, and to take part in the Pasión. You can register in the Cultural Centre in Adeje between 8am and 10pm, or by phone to 922 756 246. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult when registering.

The event now has an international fame, with hundreds of thousands watching as it is broadcast live every year on television and online through the council’s social media. Every year, however, tens of thousands fill Adeje as they attend the Pasión in person, a great number of them tourists in the area. The whole of Calle Grande from the Plaza del Cruz del Llano to the Plaza de España is transformed into ancient Jerusalem with a market place, various stages, and animals including goats, donkeys, falcons, and horses, following the last days and death of Jesus of Nazareth from his entry into Jerusalem to the crucifixion against the amazing backdrop of the Barranco del Infierno.

The performance always begins at 12 noon and lasts for two hours, and the council advises those who attend to wear comfortable shoes and clothes, to bring water and a sun hat, and to put on adequate sun cream and make sure children are well protected. The local authorities urge the public to follow the instructions of the local police and civil protection units who are there to ensure everyone’s safety and don’t cross the temporary barriers erected to keep the streets clear for the act itself. It is also recommended for attendees to carry ID and information regarding blood group and any allergies in case of an emergency or accident. Given the many thousands expected to attend, it is also essential to arrive in good time, ideally by bus or taxi, and when the event has concluded be prepared to wait a while for crowds to disperse.

There is more information HERE, and Adeje Ayuntamiento will issue more specific information in due course, but for those who would like to take part, Easter starts now!