A forest fire on the south side of the Spanish island of Tenerife, a tourist resort that packs in thousands of visitors every year, has destroyed 1,200 hectares (3,000 acres) of woodland and now threatens a nature reserve.

The blaze, which has forced the evacuation of four communities, is moving forward on two fronts, authorities said, adding that flames are spreading in the municipalities of Vilaflor and Adeje, a big tourist attraction.

Located in the latter is the Barranco del Infierno nature reserve, a hiker's paradise, where an all-out attempt is being made to stop the flames from spreading to the island's upland forest.

Working to extinguish the flames are government personnel of the Canary Islands region and the military emergency management unit with the aid of several helicopters.

According to the head of the local Tenerife government, Ricardo Melchior, it is still too early to determine the causes of the fire, though he does not believe it was the result of carelessness since the fire broke out at more than one place within a limited amount of time.

Tenerife is one of the best known of the Canary Islands, a tourist destination chosen each year by tens of thousands of visitors, many from European countries who come to enjoy the beaches and the year-long mild temperatures.

In recent weeks, with the onset of hot weather, areas of Spain like Valencia, Alicante and Murcia have been devastated by wildfires.

The worst conflagration wiped out 28,600 hectares (110 square miles) of brush and woodland in the province of Valencia and was finally extinguished on Sunday, 18 days after it broke out. EFE