In western Europe, fires continue as mercury climbs

In Western Europe, fires continue as mercury climbs

Desolation is seen in Graveson, south of Avignon, France, following fires that destroyed thousands of hectares of forest.

The heat wave in Western Europe continues to cause devastating wildfires and was expected to continue into the start of the week. Several temperature records could be broken in France and Great Britain.

This heat wave is the second in barely a month in Europe. The multiplication of these phenomena is a direct consequence of global warming according to scientists, with greenhouse gas emissions increasing in intensity, duration and frequency.

In France, Greece, Portugal and Spain, fires have burned thousands of hectares, forcing thousands of residents and tourists to flee their homes, and last week killed several members of the security services. firefighting and rescue.

In the south-west of France, the mobilization of firefighters did not weaken, particularly in Gironde where nearly 11,000 hectares of forest have gone up in smoke since Tuesday, in a context of generalized heat wave. Météo-France has placed 15 departments in the west of the country on heatwave red vigilance, a sign of an extreme heat peak.

Monday could be one of the hottest on record in France. The heat is gaining momentum, the heat wave is spreading across the country, warns the public meteorological establishment, which expects to see many temperature records broken, especially in the west and south-west.

Météo France recommends that the inhabitants of the areas concerned observe absolute vigilance in the face of dangerous phenomena of exceptional intensity.

In parts of the southwest, it will be an apocalypse of heat that could reach 44°C in places on Monday, followed by a scorching night, according to Météo France.

For the time being, in the tourist area of ​​Arcachon, on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, the progression of the fire has slowed down, even if, during the night from Saturday to Sunday, several outbreaks of fire have threatened the campsites of the Dune du Pilat, which had to be evacuated from their guards, according to the Gironde prefecture.

In total, more than 14,000 inhabitants and holidaymakers had to bend emergency luggage since Tuesday.

In Lyon, the neighboring chapel of the Grand Hôtel Dieu offered refuge to tourists: We went back to admire the place but we can't leave anymore, outside it's too hot. We say a prayer before the furnace!, laughs Jean-Marc, 51, who came from Alsace with his family.

In Spain, around twenty Forest fires are still raging and out of control in different parts of the country, from the south to the far northwest in Galicia, where the fires have so far destroyed around 4400 hectares of land this week, according to authorities.

In Spain, about twenty forest fires are still active.

In the far south, a fire broke out in the Mijas mountains near the coastal city of Malaga and has so far destroyed nearly 2,000 hectares, according to local authorities. It caused the evacuation of more than 3,000 residents, but 2,000 have since been able to return to their homes.

We worked all night against the flames, said the regional minister of Agriculture, Carmen Crespo, on Spanish public television.

On Sunday, the thermometer reached 39°C in Madrid, 39.7°C in Seville (south) and a maximum of 43.4°C at Don Benito near Badajoz (east).

Portugal was experiencing a lull: on Sunday, for the first time since July 8, temperatures there did not exceed 40°C, according to the national meteorological service (IPMA), after having reached a historic record for Thursday. 47°C in July.

A lull also on the fire front: a single large outbreak, near Chaves in the far north of the country, was considered active and practically controlled on 90% of its perimeter according to the Portuguese civil protection.

Nevertheless, almost all of Portuguese territory presented a very high or high maximum risk of fires on Sunday, in particular the central and northern regions.

According to the latest known report from the Portuguese authorities , the fires of the past week have left two dead and around sixty injured. They have ravaged between 12,000 and 15,000 hectares of forest and brush since the start of the heat wave.

Further north in Europe, in the UK, the national weather agency has issued the first-ever red alert for extreme heat, warning of a risk to life. The Met Office said temperatures in southern England could top 40C for the first time on Monday or Tuesday.

In the UK, authorities have issued the first red alert.

The British government was accused on Sunday of not taking the heat wave seriously, after resigning Prime Minister Boris Johnson missed a crisis meeting on the subject in Downing Street, and his Deputy Dominic Raab seemed to be delighted to have over 40°C in England for the first time.

In the Netherlands, the Netherlands Institute for Health public health and the environment (RIVM) announced on Sunday a National Heat Plan and a smog alert in force from Monday across the country, forecasting a rise in temperatures in the coming days, up to 35° C Monday in the south and up to 38°C in some places on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in the world, extreme temperatures have also caused forest fires, notably in the northern Morocco where one person died and half of the approximately 4,660 hectares affected went up in smoke, as well as in western Ca nada.

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