More than 4,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in Spain's Canary Islands because of forest fires that are difficult to control due to a heatwave and strong winds.

The worst hit areas are Tenerife, a popular tourist destination, and La Gomera, where temperatures have topped 40C degrees since Friday.

The extreme temperatures restarted fires that had been put out last week after destroying more than 3,000 hectares of land since 4 August.

Thousands of people, including many foreign holidaymakers, left La Gomera by sea for the port of San Sebastián de la Gomera yesterday.

The fires have destroyed 200 hectares of land in Tenerife and 470 hectares in La Gomera since Friday and some roads have been closed on both islands.

Other areas, including the northern province of Galicia, have been affected by fires in the past few days.

Spain has already suffered a number of forest fires in various regions this year.

Around 50,000 hectares of land were destroyed in the first five months of 2012, making this year the worst since 2002, according to the Environment Ministry.

Thousands of people left their homes in Valencia in July, also a popular tourist area, and four French people died last month in fires in the border area between Catalonia and France.