WILDFIRES are spreading "out of control" on the island of Tenerife.
The raging inferno has ripped through 4,450 acres of land in just 24 hours as hundreds of firefighters battle to contain it.
At least five villages have been evacuated after the fire erupted at a nature reserve on the north-east coast on Tuesday evening.
Officials have branded the blazes the "worst wildfires in 40 years" – forcing 7,600 people to be evacuated or forced to stay indoors.
On Wednesday night, the flames tore through a forest with steep ravines in the island's north east.
Tourists and residents have been warned the blaze is "out of control" as roads and holiday homes close.
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Spanish authorities said their main goal is to contain the fire and prevent it from reaching more populated areas.
The 19-mile blaze is located in the mountainous area of Arafo – and hundreds of people in the surrounding villages of Arafo, Candelaria and La Orotava have been forced to flee.
Officials said the areas affected are "mainly in the mountainous areas of Arafo, Candelaria, La Victoria de Acentejo, Santa Úrsula, La Orotava and El Rosario".
The island's main town – Santa Cruz – is just 20km away from the flames.
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Regional President Fernando Clavijo said the island had been turned into a "virtual oven" as 250 firefighters work around the clock struggling to contain flames.
He said: "This is probably the most complicated blaze we have had on the Canary Islands, if not ever, at least in the last 40 years."
As the forest fire rages, part of the sea has been turned black as burning ash rains down on it.
Footage from the holiday resort of Las Caletillas on the north-east coast shows the water covered by a layer of ash.
A local who filmed the images said: “Here you can appreciate the hell we’re experiencing.
“The water is literally black from ash in Caletillas."
Another picture taken from the coastline at Candelaria showed a thick line of ash from the devastating forest fire snaking through the ocean.
Vicky Palma, a wildfire advisor to the Tenerife Council said the Canary Islands had never seen a blaze of the sort currently affecting Tenerife.
She said: “We’re seeing a type of fire we’ve never seen before in the Canary Islands.
“The fire has been generating convection in the 34 hours it has been burning.
“The column of flames has been three and six kilometres high, even at night-time.
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“What’s in the sky between the Tenerife capital Santa Cruz and the city of La Laguna is not cloud, it’s the smoke from the fire.
“This generates its own meteorological conditions and affects nearby places.”
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