MADRID — Cooler temperatures and favorable winds are helping firefighters battle an 11-day-old blaze raging on the Canary Island of La Gomera, Spanish authorities said Wednesday.
The forest fire is among the worst to affect Spain this year, when wildfires have caused triple the damage of the previous year.
Critics say economic crisis cutbacks are hampering efforts to deal with the blazes.
The Canary Islands regional government said Wednesday that the fire on the island, which lies off the North African coast, was still out of control.
But officials said firefighters were making greater progress because of a sudden drop in summer temperatures and a change in wind direction that had contained the fire’s spread.
The fire has so far burned just over 11 square miles in and around the island’s central Garajonay National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site.
The Canary Islands government has long demanded that its firefighting equipment be boosted by the central government.
Agriculture Minister Miguel Angel Canete has acknowledged that cutbacks have probably affected regional governments’ abilities to prevent or put out forest fires. He pledged new measures soon but gave no details.
Forest fires in Spain burned 500 square miles from January through Aug. 5, the ministry says, more than triple the burned acreage of the same period in 2011.
On Wednesday, El Pais, a leading newspaper, highlighted that the blazes, while started mostly by people and abetted by drought and soaring temperatures, have coincided with severe cutbacks in spending by both regional and national governments.