Part of Western Europe continued to struggle this weekend against devastating wildfires, as a result of the heat wave. A heat wave may break many records early next week.
In southwestern France, the mobilization of firefighters to fix fires has not weakened, particularly in the Gironde where smoke from nearly 10,000 hectares of forest has erupted since Tuesday, in the context of a generalized heat wave where temperatures can reach 40 degrees Celsius. C locally, according to Météo-France, which has put 38 departments on orange alert.
In the Arcachon tourist basin, on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, the efforts made made it possible to slow the progress of the fire. “This evening, we are on 3200 hectares burned against 3150 this morning in La Teste-de-Buch, the perimeter is almost constant but the fire is not completely under control,” declared in the evening to the press the Vice-President of Arcachon.
Inland, the fire continues to advance in two small towns, where “more than 7,000 hectares” have been burned, according to authorities. In all, these fires, which mobilized more than a thousand firefighters, have led to the evacuation of more than 14,000 people since Tuesday.
Tranquility in the Iberian Peninsula
Portugal is experiencing relative calm, with only one large fire still active on Saturday in the north of the country. AFP journalists immediately testified that this fire appeared to have lost its intensity in the early afternoon. If the firefighters could not reach the wooded hill from which the white smoke came out, the work of the firefighting helicopter succeeded at this point in limiting the development of the flames.
A day earlier, a seaplane, which was fighting a forest fire, crashed in the Guarda region (north), killing its pilot. According to a report issued by the Portuguese Civil Protection, last week’s fires left two dead and nearly sixty injured. According to his estimates, between 12,000 and 15,000 hectares of forests and trees have been destroyed by these fires since the onset of the heat wave.
In Spain, dozens of fires are still burning from the north to the south of the country. In the Extremadura region, on the border with Portugal, part of the A5 motorway, which connects Madrid to the Portuguese border, can reopen to traffic after being closed for more than twelve hours due to a fire.
Farther south, in Andalusia, a fire near Malaga led to the precautionary evacuation of more than 3,000 people, according to Andalusian emergency services. 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.
Spain’s weather agency kept almost the entire country under different levels of high temperatures on alert on Saturday, with values above 40C in many areas and as high as 44C in some places. In Portugal, not only has the southern Algarve region been on high alert. In the rest of the country, the Meteorological Institute is forecasting temperatures that could reach 42 degrees Celsius on Saturday in some places.
UK red alert
Further north in Europe, in the United Kingdom, a crisis committee made up of British government ministers was due to meet on Saturday after the National Weather Agency issued its first-ever “red” alert for extreme heat, warning of a “risk to life”. The Met Office said temperatures in southern England could reach 40 degrees Celsius for the first time on Monday or Tuesday.
Elsewhere in the world, extreme temperatures have also caused forest fires, particularly in northern Morocco where one person died and half of the 4,660 hectares affected went into smoke.
Western Canada has also been affected, a fire that has devastated since Thursday the Lytton region, northeast of Vancouver, which was already devastated last year by a historic heat wave and devastating fires. The fire burned 1,500 hectares of forest and trees, destroying many homes and prompting evacuations.
This heat wave is the second in barely a month in Europe. The proliferation of these phenomena is a direct result of global warming according to scientists, with greenhouse gas emissions increasing in intensity, duration and frequency.
This article was published automatically. Sources: ats / afp