People watch a smoke from a forest fire on the Agaete beach in the village of Agaete, on the Canary Island of Gran Canaria, Spain, Aug. 20, 2019.
People watch a smoke from a forest fire on the Agaete beach in the village of Agaete, on the Canary Island of Gran Canaria, Spain, Aug. 20, 2019.

Firefighters battling Spain's largest wildfire of the year got a break Tuesday as wind gusts abated. 

More than 12,000 hectares have burned on Gran Canaria island in Spain's Canary Islands chain, located in the Atlantic Ocean northwest of Africa. 

Some 9,000 people have been forced to flee their homes on the island, which is one of Spain's main tourist destinations.

A hydroplane operates on a wildfire in Canary Islands, Spain, Aug. 20, 2019.
A hydroplane operates on a wildfire in Canary Islands, Spain, Aug. 20, 2019.

Firefighters had struggled Monday to contain the fire amid gusting winds and summer temperatures around 36 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit). 

The cause of the blaze, which started Saturday, is still being investigated. 

"I think we may be moving into the final phase of this wildfire,'' Gran Canaria emergency chief Federico Grillo told local broadcaster Television Canaria.

Gran Canaria is the third-largest island in the Canary Islands archipelago with a population of 850,000.

Officials said the diminishing winds had  prevented the fire from entering the Inagua national reserve.

"There was a miracle last night," Victor Torres, president of the Canary Islands archipelago, told local reporters.