Programme LIFE+ 2013 Garajonay Vive:
Ecological restoration works on the Garajonay National Park and surrounding area following the devastating forest fire in 2012
A deliberate fire was started on the island of La Gomera on 4th August 2012, which turned out to be the worst forest fire for decades in the Canary Islands from an ecological point of view. The fire caused the greatest ever damage in terms of surface area to laurel forest in the Canaries, including highly valuable centuries old areas of woodland, unlike any other had previously done. The total surface area burned down was 3,613.78 hectares, affecting 7 Special Preservation Zones (ZEC in Spanish), equivalent to 32.55% of its total area. At the Garajonay National Park itself, 741.7 hectares were affected, equal to 18.6% of its surface area.
The fire has had grave environmental repurcussions as a result of the destruction of huge swayths of vegetation, mainly ancient laurel forests situated in the Garajonay National Park, a Human Heritage Site. It also directly affected a number of areas of endangered species, caused a loss of good quality land, and has led to a grave deterioration in the functions of water collection and regulating of the hydrological cycle of the woods, which the island depends on for its supply.