IAC communiqué on the Izaña Fire

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The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) informs that the terrible fire in Tenerife has been prevented from damaging the infrastructures of the Observatorio del Teide (OT). 

On 20 August, at about 15.00 hours, the fire that is ravaging Tenerife entered the OT through the watercourse bordering the Meteorological Observatory. The fire-fighting teams, which had been deployed in the area in anticipation of what might happen, reacted immediately and, although the fire progressed rapidly towards the Themis and Stella telescopes, damage to the facilities was avoided thanks to the intervention of the ground and aerial teams.

At around 21.00 hours, the fire again engulfed the observatory on the east and south fronts, crossing the road that connects to the Meteorological Observatory and moving towards the main entrance of the OT. Throughout the night, the fire-fighting services, firefighters and brigades, which were reinforced by the Military Emergency Unit (UME) and other resources, managed to prevent the fire from damaging the telescopes.

The IAC and the international institutions of the Canary Islands Observatories would like to thank all the personnel of the fire-fighting services for their total dedication, generosity and extreme professionalism that saved our facilities from fire and, of course, the authorities for their commitment to the protection of the Observatory, a centre of international prestige and scientific heritage of the Canary Islands and the world.

We hope that these circumstances will not happen again and that the fire in Tenerife will not cause any more damage to our beloved island. Our solidarity with all the neighbours who have been affected by these difficult circumstances.