Part of Western Europe is still feeling the effects of a heat wave on Saturday, July 16, which has caused devastating wildfires and which forecasters expect to smash many temperatures early next week.
In southwest France, the crowd of firefighters has not weakened to stop the fires, especially in the Gironde.where smoke has been emitted from more than 9,000 hectares of forest since Tuesday, in the context of a generalized heat wave where temperatures can reach 40 degrees Celsius locally, according to Météo-France.
In the town of La Teste-de-Buch, efforts have slowed the progress of the fire. “We still, and this is a relief, 3150 hectares burned, but the fire is still not under control”Arcachon Deputy Governor Ronan Leaustic, who welcomed“Huge density and packing” firefighters at night “to preserve this ocean”. And these fires, which mobilized a thousand firefighters, since Tuesday, resulted in the evacuation of ten thousand people.
Between 12,000 and 15,000 hectares burned in Portugal
There is relative calm in Portugal, with one large fire still active on Saturday, in the north of the country, between the municipalities of Baiao and Amarante. In the middle of the day, fires blazed there at least on a front, on a wooded hillside in this mountainous region upstream of the Douro River, according to AFP journalists.
The day before, a bombed-out plane battling a forest fire had crashed in the Guarda district, killing the pilot, its sole occupant. According to a report issued by the Portuguese Civil Protection, last week’s fires left two dead and nearly sixty injured. According to these estimates, since the onset of the heat wave, the fires have destroyed between 12,000 and 15,000 hectares of forests and trees.
Only the Algarve region in southern Portugal was not on high alert. In the rest of the country, the Meteorological Institute is forecasting Saturday temperatures of up to 42 degrees Celsius in some places.
In Spain, dozens of fires are still burning from the north to the south of the country. Saturday morning, in the Extremadura region, on the border with Portugal, a fireplace in ‘Unfavorable development’According to the regional government, this has closed part of the A5 motorway, which connects Madrid to the Portuguese border. Meanwhile, a fire broke out in southern Andalusia near Malaga, which led to the preventive evacuation of more than three thousand people, according to the Andalusian emergency services.
Spain’s weather agency kept almost the entire country under varying levels of high temperatures on alert on Saturday, with values above 40C in many areas and as high as 44C in some places. If the peak of this heat wave appears to have crossed the Iberian Peninsula, then the temperature should not fall below 40 ° C until the beginning of next week.
First ever ‘red’ alert in the UK
In Greece, firefighters continued to combat the outbreak that broke out on Friday morning, causing the precautionary evacuation of seven villages in a rural area of Rethymno prefecture on the island of Crete.
In the UK, a crisis committee made up of ministers was due to meet on Saturday after the Met Office, Britain’s National Weather Service, issued its first-ever “red” alert for extreme heat, warning of ‘Danger to life’. The service said temperatures in southern England could hit 40 degrees Celsius for the first time on Monday or Tuesday, possibly breaking the record of 38.7 degrees in 2019.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has advised Londoners to only use public transport these days in case this happens ‘Absolute necessity’. Rail companies also urged travelers to avoid travel. Some schools in southern England have told parents they will remain closed during the heat wave early next week.
This heat wave is the second in barely a month in Europe. The proliferation of these phenomena is a direct consequence of global warming, according to scientists, with greenhouse gas emissions increasing in intensity, duration and frequency.
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