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Alert in Western Europe for extreme temperatures and forest fires


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Aided by extreme temperatures, two wildfires have burned nearly 77,000 hectares since Tuesday in southwestern France

Battle with flamess are given by firefighters and volunteers to France and Iberian Peninsulawhere temperatures remain sweltering while, further north, Britain has been put on red alert for heatwave expected early in the week, with the mercury climbing to 40C.

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This heat wave is the second in a month for dwestern Europe.

The proliferation of these weather events is a direct consequence of climate change, according to scientists, as greenhouse gas emissions increase their intensity, duration and frequency.

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Aided by extreme temperatures, two wildfires have burned nearly 77,000 hectares since Tuesday in southwestern France, where local authorities are not ruling out the possibility of arson. Another fire broke out near the tourist area of ​​Ammolofos of Pila, in the same region.

Imagine a tunnel of fire, a ball of fire” said fire chief Laurent Delac, speaking to AFP from La Teste-de-Bique.

Almost 11,000 people were forced to leave their homes or camps where they were on vacation.

I’ve never seen anything like this before, it’s like a scene from the Apocalypse, really, ash is falling from everywhere, on the cars, it’s disturbingsaid Karin, a resident of Kazos, shortly before receiving this order to evacuate this village, near the Sand Dunes of Pila.

Another fire started on Thursday afternoon from a train, whose wheels created sparks, near Avignon. It burned about 12,000 acres before it was brought under control.

-37 degrees at 7am in Spain –

In Portugal, 2,000 firefighters have been trying to contain the four big fires raging in the center and north for days. According to the civil protection service, at least one person died and 60 others were injured.

Around 300,000 hectares have been reduced to ash in Portugal since the start of the year, the most since 2017, when deadly wildfires claimed 100 lives.

On the Spanish side, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said the government is monitoring the development of the fronts, due to which many communities have been evacuated, adding that the risk is high, also due to the very high temperatures.

Of greater concern is the fire in Extremadura, on the border with Portugal, where thousands of acres have burned in recent days. The flames are approaching and threatening the Montfrague National Park, a protected zone.

Another forest fire that worries the Spanish authorities is that of Minhas, a few tens of kilometers from Malaga. According to rescuers, 2,300 people had to be evacuated from their homes.

The heat does not allow a single moment of respite for the Spaniards who will have to wait until the beginning of next week for it to cool down a bit. At 7 am the temperature was 37 degrees and at 16.20 (17.20 Greek time) the thermometer showed 43.9 degrees in Badakhoth (southwest). In most of the country, temperatures exceeded 40 degrees.

In Portugal, the thermometer reached on Thursday up to 47 degrees in the north, an all-time record for the month of July. Today, however, the maximum dropped to 41 degrees.

In France, on the other hand, the temperature that today reached 37/38 degrees in the southwest and the Rhône valley, will rise even more, even reaching 40 in the south, on the Bordeaux-Lyon axis.

–Extreme heat in Britain–

A ‘red alert’ for extreme heat was declared in Britain for the first time on Monday and Tuesday and residents are being told to prepare for temperatures never experienced before.

“We were hoping not to get to this situation but, for the first time, we are forecast to exceed 40 degrees Celsius in the UK,” said Dr Nikos Christidis, a specialist climatologist at the Met Office. The absolute record for Britain is 38.7 points recorded in 2019.

The red alert, level 4, is issued when “a heat wave is so severe and/or prolonged that its effects not only affect the health and social protection system. At this level even healthy people – and not only those belonging to high-risk groups – may become ill or even die,” the British authorities emphasize.

The NHS has warned that admissions could increase due to the heat. Railway companies have not ruled out the possibility of canceling services due to the high temperature.

Ireland and Belgium are also bracing for heatwaves, with temperatures reaching 32 and 38 degrees respectively in places.


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