The number of people evacuated from their homes in Gran Canaria doubled to 8,000 this morning as authorities declared a wildfire "unstoppable".

The blaze has been tearing through one of the popular Spanish Canary Islands since Saturday and has already destroyed more than 6,000 hectares of land.

The president of the Canary Islands Ángel Víctor Torres said: "We are facing a wild fire that continues without being contained, or controlled.

"Our priority is the safety of people."

Flames rise from a forest fire raging in Montana Alta
Authorities have declared it "unstoppable"

Seven municipalities on the summit of the island have been affected from more than 40 communities in Valleseco, Moya, Gáldar, Agaete, San Mateo, Artenara and Tejeda.

Further evacuations have not been ruled out as a firefighting team of 700 professionals battle the blaze again this morning.

So far, 800,000 liters of water have been dropped on the island.

Witness Carla Rodriguez described the scene of destruction to Sky News as "one of the most painful images I've seen in my life".

Residents observe smoke billowing from the forest fire
Around 8,000 have been evacuated

The Gran Canaria fire brigade tweeted: "We are overwhelmed by the situation. We continue working and fighting for our island."

The fire could evolve towards the west and in the southeast direction which would cause the municipalities of La Aldea, Artenara, Tejeda and probably Mogán to be affected.

Authorities say it is "impossible to stop it in the current situation" especially as the outbreak of smaller fires through fire bombs could put the emergency services in danger by trapping them in the fire zone.

Flames and smoke from a forest fire are seen in the village of Moya
Satellite of smoke emerging from Gran Canaria

The big hope is that this part of the island will be saved if the weather conditions improve.

The inferno is being complicated by a combination of high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity.

Earlier, 10 planes and helicopters, as well as around 700 firefighters on the ground including about 200 from the military, were battling the blaze.

The president of the Canary Islands said people's safety is their priority
Roads have been closed and hundreds of firefighters have been battling the flames

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Hotels in the centre of the island have also shut due to the raging flames,  Mail Online  reports.

Temperatures in Gran Canaria have almost hit 40C in recent days, with low humidity and high winds.

The blaze started close to the town of Tejeda, which was also evacuated last week because of an earlier wildfire.