Western Europe still overwhelmed by forest fires and heat wave

Western Europe still overwhelmed by forest fires and heat wave

< p class="sc-v64krj-0 knjbxw">A fire rages in the forest of Alhaurin el Grande, Spain.

Part of Western Europe continued to swelter on Saturday under a heat wave responsible for devastating wildfires and which forecasters predict could break several temperature records early next week.

In the south-west of France, the mobilization of firefighters did not weaken on Saturday to put out the fires, and particularly in Gironde, where nearly 9,000 hectares of forest have gone up in smoke since Tuesday, in a context of generalized heat wave where temperatures could reach 40°C locally, according to Météo-France.

In the town of Teste-de-Buch, the efforts made have made it possible to slow the progression of the fire. We are still, and it is a satisfaction, at 3150 hectares burned, but the fire is still not under control, declared to the press the sub-prefect of Arcachon, Ronan Léaustic, who has praised the enormous intensity and mobilization of the firefighters during the night to maintain this perimeter.

Firefighters attempt to fight a forest fire near Landiras, south-west France.

Resumptions have taken place in recent hours on the side of the Lagune and Petit-Nice beaches south of the very touristy Dune du Pilat, said the mayor of Teste-de-Buch, Patrick Davet.

< p class="e-p">These fires, which mobilize a thousand firefighters, have since Tuesday led to the evacuation of 10,000 people.

Portugal was experiencing a relative calm, with only one major fire still active on Saturday, in the north of the country, between the municipalities of Baião and Amarante.

In the middle of the day, the fire was progressing there at least on one front, on the side of a wooded hill in this hilly region located upstream from the Douro River, AFP journalists noted.

The day before, a water bomber plane that was fighting a forest fire in the Guarda region crashed, causing the death of the pilot, its only occupant.

According to a report from the Portuguese civil protection, the fires of the last week have left two dead and around sixty injured. According to his estimates, these fires have ravaged, since the start of the heat wave, between 12,000 and 15,000 hectares of forest and brush.

Spain faces its second heat wave of the year.

In Spain, dozens of fires were still raging from north to south of the country. In the region of Extremadura, bordering Portugal, an unfavorable outbreak, according to the regional government, led to the closure of a section of the A5 motorway on Saturday morning, connecting Madrid to the Portuguese border.

Meanwhile, in the far south of Andalusia, a fire near Malaga has forced the precautionary evacuation of more than 3,000 people, according to Andalusian rescue services.

In Greece, firefighters continued to battle a blaze that broke out on Friday morning, prompting the precautionary evacuation of seven villages in a rural area of ​​Rethymno prefecture on the island of Crete. /p>

The Spanish Meteorological Agency kept virtually the whole country under different high temperature alert levels on Saturday, with values ​​above 40ºC in many areas and up to 44ºC in places.

In Portugal, only the southern Algarve region was not on heat alert. In the rest of the country, the Meteorological Institute predicts temperatures on Saturday that could reach 42°C in places.

If the peak of this heat wave seems to have been crossed in the Iberian Peninsula, the mercury is not expected to drop below 40°C until early next week.

Further north in Europe, in the UK, a crisis committee made up of British government ministers was due to meet on Saturday after the national weather agency issued the first-ever red alert for extreme heat, warning of a risk to life.

Swimmers open a new open water swimming venue, London.

The Met Office has said temperatures in southern England could exceed 40° C for the first time on Monday or Tuesday, possibly breaking the 2019 record of 38.7°C.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has advised Londoners to n& #x27;use public transport on these days only when absolutely necessary. Rail companies have also urged passengers to avoid travel.

Some schools in the south of England have told parents they will remain closed during the heatwave in beginning of next week.

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.

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