Welcome to the dry summer by columnist Barbara Belt

Welcome to the dry summer by columnist Barbara Belt

MOUNTAIN SLOPES: Contrast with deep valleys.

DEAR reader, welcome to June and to the dry summer.

Down here on the islands we’ve already had a taste of things to come, with an out of control fire which burnt hectares of land, approaching the Teide National Park, beautiful at the moment with its extraordinary tajinaste flowers, at a horribly fast pace.

It was disastrous. High winds fanned the fire, the air was dry, the firefighters exhausted. Then the wind changed direction, a day later it dropped completely and the fire was under control, then out. And it was still only May, albeit late May!

There have been small fires in other locations, more easily put out because of different weather conditions, but there’s a big problem waiting to happen and, although there’s always danger of summer fires, this year the situation’s exacerbated by the amount of tall grasses and excessive undergrowth on all the islands, caused by much heavier than usual rainfall during the winter months.

Spring was beautiful, with green, wildflower-dotted landscapes everywhere. The downside being that everywhere dried out by late April when dry weather started earlier than usual.

Rain in the Canaries isn’t the ‘today’s a rainy day,’ type, by the way. It pelts down for anywhere between five minutes to an hour, then it’s sunny again. This winter enough fell to fill all the reservoirs and green up places I’ve never seen green before in the 35 years we’ve been here.

The resultant tall, dry grass rippling in the breeze everywhere now also makes for stunning landscapes, contrasting with the dark drystone walled terraces, but it’s tinder waiting for a spark, much of it inaccessible.

The Canarians have constructed agricultural land by painstakingly terracing mountain slopes and deep valleys. Although there’s more flat land on the Eastern islands, the Western province has precipes in abundance. You need to come and see for yourselves really, but please refrain from doing anything that causes sparks if you do.

Barbara Belt.

Barbara Belt’s opinions are her own and are not necessarily representative of those of the publishers, advertisers or sponsors.

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Barbara Belt