In addition to France, which is going through an exceptional heatwave of the season, with a peak of 42 degrees Celsius this Saturday, southern Europe is also suffocating from the heat. In Spain, fires are engulfing the country, which has been hit by a heat wave for a week, while northern Italy is preparing to declare a state of emergency in the face of record heat.
In France this Saturday, 69 departments were placed on alert for a heat wave, including 11 on the red alert. The peaks are expected to reach 42 degrees, and the heat will increase in France before dropping down on Sunday. France is not the only one that has suffered from this extraordinary heat wave: Spain and Italy are also suffocating in the unusual temperatures of this season.
Tens of thousands of hectares burned in Spain
In Spain, the country was hit by an exceptional heat wave for about a week. According to the Spanish Meteorological Agency (Aemet), high temperatures are still expected this Saturday, especially in Toledo (41 ° C), and in the Ebro Valley, at the foot of the Pyrenees, with peaks at 42 ° C, and even 43 ° C. Celsius, projected in Zaragoza.
As a result of intense heat, large fires destroyed tens of thousands of hectares. The most important of these wildfires forced the authorities to evacuate 14 villages, with several hundred inhabitants, in the Sierra de la Culebra mountain range in the region of Castile and Leon, near the border with Portugal.
Some of the evacuees were able to return to their homes on Saturday morning, after the flames moved away from the houses in question, but the fire was “still active”, as confirmed by the government of Castile and Leon, referring to the “unfavorable” weather, with dry winds and temperatures The heat is high, and the fires have already covered nearly “19,765 hectares.”
Spanish firefighters also continue to fight other fires, from the northeast to the southeast of the country. On Friday, 3,000 people were evacuated from Puy de Fou Spain, due to a fire that destroyed 900 hectares of land.
Northern Italy is facing its worst drought in 70 years
In northern Italy, Lombardy is preparing to declare a state of emergency in the face of a record drought threatening crops, and water has already been rationed in several towns on the Po plain. Home to important crops, this region is facing its worst drought in 70 years.
The United Nations on Friday called for “acting now” against drought and desertification in order to avoid “human catastrophes”.
“It is time for action: every action counts,” said Ibrahim Thiao, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), during a conference in Madrid marking World Drought Day.
Temperatures rise in Germany, ‘extreme drought’ in Portugal
The heat wave has not spared Germany either, where temperatures can be felt as high as 40 degrees on Saturday, while some fires have already broken out.
In Brandenburg, the area around Berlin, the fire broke out on Friday and spread in the evening over an area of 60 hectares. Another fire in the Trictal Valley, southwest of Berlin, is under control, but threatens to erupt again due to drought and global warming. About 6.5 hectares of forest were burned.
For Portugal, if heat isn’t particularly important, the country has had its hottest May since 1930 and “97% of Portuguese territory is in a severe drought,” according to the Portuguese Meteorological Service (IPMA).
In all countries affected by this heat wave, temperatures will decrease on Sunday, with a decrease of 5 to 15 degrees locally.