The heat wave is taking its toll on the inhabitants of southern and western Europe. High temperature promotes forest fires and fighting them. The fire consumes thousands of hectares of land in Spain, Portugal, Greece and France, where thousands of people have been evacuated.
In Spain, helicopters throw water on flames to fight fires because the burning air and often mountainous terrain make it difficult for firefighters to work. The national weather agency AEMET issued high temperature warnings for Sunday. Forecasts show that thermometers will show 42 degrees Celsius in Aragon, Navarre and La Rioja in the north. Meteorologists predict that the heatwave will end on Monday, but temperatures will still remain “abnormally high”.
Fires in Spain. The population was evacuated
In the province of Malaga, fires raged on Saturday and Sunday nights, disturbing the local people of Mijas, a city popular with tourists from northern Europe. British retirees William and Ellen McCurdy had to flee their home quickly on Saturday. They were taken to a local sports center along with other evacuated people.
– It happened very quickly. I didn’t take it too seriously. I thought they had it under control and was quite surprised when it seemed like it was headed our way and then told to leave most of the things and run, 68-year-old William told Reuters. “We just grabbed a few essentials and ran, everyone on the street was moving at this point,” added Ellen. Mari Carmen Molina, a local councilor in Alhaurin, one of the evacuated cities, said she was concerned that residents’ houses might be burned down. – This is terrible. It is a very difficult situation, she said.
Portugal on fire
Temperatures are slowly dropping in Portugal, where only two forest fires were recorded on Sunday, both in the north of the country. As Andre Fernandes from Portuguese civil defense informed on Saturday evening, out of nearly 90 fires occurring on the Portuguese side of the border, the element is the fastest in the vicinity of the city of Chaves.
The Portuguese Ministry of Health said late Saturday that 659 people, most of them elderly, have died in the past seven days due to the heatwave. Fires also take their toll: by Saturday evening, two deaths in the fire had been confirmed. The greatest difficulty in fighting the elements is the tropical heat. Portuguese meteorologists confirmed that thirteen localities have experienced record air temperatures in recent days. The weekly peak of 440 deaths is said to have taken place on Thursday when temperatures surpassed 40 degrees C in several regions, with 47 degrees C recorded at the weather station in the central district of Viseu.
Southern Europe is fighting the element
In Greece, the fire department said on Saturday that 71 fires had broken out in 24 hours. Since Friday in Rethymno, Crete, more than 150 firefighters have fought the burning forest and farmland. The flames were propelled by strong gusts of wind. Local fire officials said on Sunday the fire had been partially contained.
Authorities in southern France said Sunday they are still fighting fires that have forced thousands of people to leave their homes. The biggest problems are controlling fire near the town of Landiras in the Gironde district. The flames consumed 4,200 hectares of land, and a further 480 people had to be evacuated in the last 24 hours. The second fire rages near the popular Dune de Pyla beach.
It’s hot in Britain
Not getting any better in the north, the UK weather service issued its first red ‘extreme heat’ warning for parts of England on Monday and Tuesday, predicting temperatures could hit 40 degrees C, surpassing the previous record of 38.7 degrees C from 2019.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / SDIS 33 HANDOUT