Heat and drought: Southern Europe grapples with wildfires

Heat and drought: Southern Europe grapples with wildfires

Thus: 07/13/2022 9:24 PM

Prolonged drought and heat have caused wildfires in parts of southern Europe and Turkey. The situation does not seem to be improving – quite the contrary. This is likely to be one of the longest heat waves in decades.

In Spain, Portugal, France and Italy, extreme and prolonged heat has caused many forest fires. In Spain, there is currently a massive fire in the municipality of Las Herdes near the border with Portugal. The flames have already destroyed about 3,500 hectares there.

Weather service Amet issued an alarm for 16 of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities: the second heat wave of the year will likely be the longest since records began in 1975. It should be especially hot in Andalusia in the south and Extremadura in the west of the country, with temperatures of up to 44 degrees. There, more than 400 people were evacuated due to the forest fire on the border with Portugal.

Near Madrid, seawater is drawn from the air to fight fires.

Image: AP

a dead man in portugal

In neighboring Portugal, fire brigades and civil defense also fought against wildfires, sometimes with temperatures above 40 degrees – especially in the center of the country. A woman died in a fire in Murtosa village.

In the morning, more than 1,500 firefighters were fighting four major fires in the municipalities of Leiria, Pombal and Orem, about a hundred kilometers north of Lisbon. According to the Civil Defense, a total of 600 people were evacuated, of whom about 120 were to be medically treated. Officials said 96 percent of Portugal was experiencing extreme or severe drought at the end of June.

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firefighting helicopter crashes on samosas

Forest fires also broke out on the Greek holiday island of Samos to the west, near the town of Palechori. As reported by online portal Samos Voice, 14 fire tenders, three firefighting aircraft and two fire helicopters were deployed to douse the flames. The fire could not be brought under control till evening. As a precaution, two cities have been evacuated.

According to Greek media, a helicopter crashed during the mission as it was about to take water from the sea. Accordingly, there were four people on board. The pilot could have been rescued alive by the Coast Guard and taken to a hospital. The other two prisoners were recovered dead, the fourth was also recovered alive in the evening.

Due to the severe drought, the fire brigade has declared the second highest warning level for wildfires for several islands in the eastern Aegean, but also for the Attica region around Athens and the larger islands of Euboea and Crete. Already on Tuesday, 35 fires were reported across the country within 24 hours.

evacuation in france

On the French Atlantic coast, emergency services rescued thousands of people from the spreading flames. In Teste-de-Buch, south of the city of Bordeaux, five camps were evacuated as a precaution. According to Gironde Prefecture, 6,000 people were moved to other places. The temperature in the area is expected to remain 37 degrees.

France also uses firefighting aircraft.

Image: AFP

The fire has now engulfed more than 1,200 hectares of land. They are favored by prolonged drought and high temperatures. High heat alert level orange has been declared. According to the province, more than 600 firefighters brought the blaze under control. Emergency services were also expected to come from other parts of France.

Italy fights fire with air

In Italy, the fire brigade is fighting, among other things, the flames on a hill in the border area between Tuscany and Liguria, which is difficult to reach, as announced by Tuscan authorities. Two helicopters and six units of different forces are present at the spot. Strong winds can fan flames in the area.

fire in turkey

In Turkey, the forest is on fire again. Turkey’s forest authority said eight fire-fighting aircraft, 14 helicopters and more than 100 fire-fighting vehicles were battling the flames on the island of Datka in the country’s southwest, which is popular for vacationers. Several houses had to be evacuated, and no casualties have been reported so far. Also in zmir province, many firefighters are on duty because of forest fires.

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