Wildfires rage in France, Portugal, Spain and Greece amid heatwave
It is the second heat wave to engulf parts of southwestern Europe in weeks, with scientists blaming climate change and predicting more frequent and intense extreme weather events.
New evacuation orders were given on Saturday for a few hundred residents, firefighter spokesman Arnaud Mendousse told AFP.
France placed 22 other departments, mainly along its Atlantic coast, on high orange alert on Saturday evening, bringing the current total to 38.
In Portugal, the meteorological institute predicts temperatures of up to 42°C without respite before next week.
Several hundred firefighters worked to contain two forest fires in the Bordeaux region of south-west France, which forced the evacuation of 10,000 people and ravaged more than 7,000 hectares of land. Source: AAP / PA
Civil defense, however, took advantage of a slight drop in temperatures after a July record high of 47C on Thursday to try to put out a major fire remaining in northern Portugal.
Dozens of forest fires raged across different parts of the country on Saturday, from the sweltering south to Galicia in the far northwest, which devastated some 3,500 hectares, the regional government said.
The fires have scorched thousands of hectares in Spain’s Extremadura region, while one near the southern city of Malaga has forced the precautionary evacuation of more than 3,000 people, emergency services said.
A firefighter works to contain a forest fire near Landiras, in southwestern France, on July 16, 2022. Strong winds and hot, dry weather are hampering efforts by French firefighters to contain a huge forest fire in the Bordeaux region. Source: AAP / SDIS 33
In Greece, civil defense rushed to douse raging flames on the Mediterranean island of Crete, while Morocco battled a deadly wildfire in its northern mountains.
Mayor Sadiq Khan has advised Londoners to only use public transport when “absolutely necessary”. National train operators have also warned passengers to avoid travel.