A wildfire that is throwing flames 160 feet into the air has forced emergency services to evacuate more than 5,000 people from Gran Canaria.

Canary Islands President Angel Victor Torres said 1,100 firefighters are being deployed on Gran Canaria, a mountainous volcanic island in the Atlantic Ocean archipelago off north-west Africa.

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He said 14 water-dropping aircraft are due to join the battle against the blaze, which started on Saturday and has burned more than 8,400 acres.

Local fire officials said emergency workers are facing huge flames and treacherous wind shifts that are blowing embers into the air, starting secondary fires.

Gran Canaria is famous for its beaches and mountains. The island and its capital, Las Palmas, are popular holiday destinations for Britons and others across Europe.