What happened to us was hell. We were afraid for our lives and for those of our children," a German tourist evacuated from one of the areas affected by the fire on the Spanish island of La Gomera said on Monday.
The woman, identified only as Melany, was one of about 1,000 people who disembarked from a boat on Monday morning in San Sebastian, capital of the island located in the Spanish Canary Islands archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean.
La Gomera has been beset since Aug. 4 by an extensive forest fire that resurged last Friday and has burned more than 4,000 hectares (10,000 acres) on this ecologically fragile island and forced the evacuation of some 5,000 people.
"We had just gone to bed and I felt nervous. I leaned out the window, I saw people running who were shouting that there was a fire and that we had to go quickly to the pier," the German tourist, who is being housed along with her two twin daughters in a student hostel in San Sebastian, told Efe.
Melany said she went out on the balcony behind the house she was staying in about 11 p.m. on Sunday and - after seeing that the ravine was "all red" - left along with her family and headed for the port of Vueltas.
Andrea, who has lived on the island for six years and works at the reception desk of an apartment complex, said that "it was a horrifying situation, we were afraid for our lives."
"It was a wave of fire that exploded and came from above. We left running toward the pier in panic," she said, adding that once they got to Vueltas most of the people remained calm "but were very afraid."
Herga, who lives in a rented house in Guada, said that on Saturday she packed her things in 10 minutes and moved into an apartment in the lower part of the valley.
"I saw many flare-ups of fire and, with my daughter and grandchildren, I went quickly in the car to the port. The ashes fell into our hair," she recalled.
Crews are trying to control the fire, a task that is being made difficult by weather conditions and the island's problematic topography. EFE