Spain, Portugal and Italy, which has been experiencing very high temperatures for several days, are struggling with forest and wasteland fires. Strong winds make it difficult to fight the elements. Over 60,000 areas were burned down in Spain. In Italy, around 200 people were evacuated in the area of Lucca in Tuscany due to a fire. 1063 people died in Portugal as a result of tropical heat between 7 and 18 July.
More than 60,000 hectares of forests and meadows burned down during the heatwave in Spain that lasted almost a week, estimated the authorities of the country’s autonomous communities, quoted by the media.
On Tuesday evening, the government of Galicia in the northwest announced in a press release that the tropical heat had contributed to the outbreak of fires since Thursday, which in total had consumed more than 20,000 hectares of forest stands and meadows. One of the most experienced Autonomous Communities is Castilla y León, in the west of Spain, where nearly 30,000 hectares of forest and farmland, mainly in the province of Zamora, were burned. According to the civil defense data released Tuesday evening, the rapidly advancing element killed two people in the province and injured 15 people. Among them is a farmer from the Zamora area who managed to get out of an excavator surrounded by flames and escape the fire. During the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, large fires also occurred in Extremadura, Andalusia, Asturias and Catalonia. Services say the increase in air temperature in Spain, expected on Wednesday, along with strong winds, will be a factor that will make it difficult for firefighters to fight the elements.
Young people are also among the fatalities
According to the data of the state health institute. Charles III in Madrid, from 10 to 16 July heat was the cause of the death of 510 people, 121 of which were found in the Community of Madrid.
The daily “El Mundo” reported that 273 people died in the country only on Friday and Saturday. As also reported by the Spanish media, the 150 deaths confirmed on Saturday were the highest daily figure. On the first day of the heatwave, 15 people died on Sunday, July 10, and the death toll was higher on each subsequent day.
“El Mundo” reported that among the death victims of the heatwave are young people who have fainted while working. The newspaper quotes the UGT trade union, which described, inter alia, Death of a mechanic from a car workshop near Madrid, where the temperature reached over 45 degrees C.
Part of Tuscany is on fire. The population was evacuated
About 200 people were evacuated on Tuesday evening in an area of the city of Lucca, Tuscany, due to a fire. About 500 hectares of forests and shrubs burst into flames there.
“It will be a long and difficult night for firefighters,” wrote the region’s governor Eugenio Giani on social media.
A fire engulfed the hills of Massarosa in the historic land of Versilia. The situation in the Gualdo and Fibbialla sediments is assessed as critical. Seven houses burned down there. The front of the fire was about a kilometer long. Fire brigades and vehicles also from Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna were summoned to fight the element.
Fatalities in heatwaves in Portugal
The Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) said on Tuesday that 1,063 people died in the heat between 7 and 18 July. It is stipulated that these are preliminary data and the death toll may be higher. The government agency noted that the negative impact of heat waves on health is manifested primarily in the dehydration of the body and the weakening of patients suffering from chronic diseases.
Carlos Antunes, a researcher at the University of Lisbon, said the data showed that the elderly were most at risk of dying from high temperatures. – With climate change, this increase in mortality is expected to increase and therefore we must take action at the level of public health to minimize the effects – emphasized the researcher.
Meteorologists predict a return of over 40-degree heat for parts of the country. The DGD recalled that already on July 6, the authorities issued a warning about the impending wave of high temperatures in most Portuguese districts. Although the air temperature in Portugal fell below 35 degrees C on Tuesday, meteorologists expect a return of more than 40 degrees heat in several parts of the country from Wednesday.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / BRAIS LORENZO