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All residents likely to go home as Gran Canaria fire weakens

All residents in the Spanish holiday island of Gran Canaria who were evacuated over a raging wildfire should be able to return to their homes on Wednesday, the regional president said.

Flames as high as 50 metres (160 feet) had complicated the battle against the blaze burning since Saturday on the western slopes of the volcanic island located off northwest Africa, prompting the evacuation of several villages with a combined population of around 10,000.

But as winds fell, the fire started to stabilise.

“All people who were evacuated will likely be able to return home today,” Angel Victor Torres, president of the Canary Islands archipelago, told reporters.

On Tuesday evening, some residents had already been allowed to go home as firefighters were subduing the powerful blaze, even if it has yet to be contained.

Torres warned that the fire “will last for days, and there will be areas that will still let off smoke,” from where the blaze could easily be rekindled.

The cause of the fire, which at one point threatened to destroy protected natural reserves rich in biodiversity, is not yet known as rescuers have been unable to access the area where it started.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will on Thursday travel to Gran Canaria, which has been hit by three fires in just two weeks, Defence Minister Margarita Robles announced.