As sweltering temperatures pushed north as Britain prepared for what may be the hottest day on record, firefighters fought fires in southern Europe.
Experts are blaming climate change and expecting more regular extreme weather, and expectations are now strong that on Tuesday the British record of 38.7C might be beaten and 40C could be crossed for the first time.
The Netherlands is also likely to have temperatures exceeding 35°C while neighboring Belgium is predicted to experience temperatures of 40°C or higher.
The national weather agency reported that a number of towns and cities in France experienced their highest-ever temperatures on Monday.
In Brest, on the Atlantic coast of Britany, in the far north-west of the nation, the temperature reached 39.3°C, breaking the previous record of 35.1°C from 2002.
Saint-Brieuc on the shore of the English Channel reached 39.5°C, breaking the previous record of 38.1°C, and Nantes in western France reached 42°C, breaking the previous mark of 40.3°C from 1949.
In the sweltering heat, firefighters in southwest France are still battling to put out two enormous fires that have left extensive damage.
Armies of firemen and a fleet of waterbombing planes have been battling fires for almost a week now, mobilizing much of France’s firefighting resources.
One of the 1,500 firemen battling the Gironde fire, which has been destroying 14,000 hectares of pine forest close to the Dune du Pilat, Europe’s highest sand dune and a popular summer tourist destination since Tuesday, stated, “It never stops.” I have been a firefighter for 30 years, and I have never seen a fire like this.
On Monday, a 5.5-mile long (9 km) by 5-mile broad region was still burning close to the dune, and the area’s expected high temperature was 44 C.
As a result of shifting winds that were blowing thick smoke into residential areas, 8,000 people were evacuated from the region close to the dune on Monday, according to officials.
After leaving his home close to the village of La Teste-de-Buch, 26-year-old Théo Dayan told Le Monde, “We’re climate change refugees.” “We’re not reaching out and touching global warming — it’s smacking us right in the face,” local fire chief Jean-Luc Gleyze said.
In France, 32,000 visitors or residents have been compelled to leave, many going to shelters for the homeless.
Thirteen départements, including Brittany, where the seaside city of Brest was expected to reach 40C on Monday—nearly double its annual average for July—have been put on the highest state of notice for excessive heat.
This is the second heatwave to hit regions of southwest Europe in recent weeks. Meanwhile, according to analysts with the European Commission, 46% of EU territory was under a drought warning.
Dublin, Ireland, saw temperatures of 33C, the highest since 1887, while Westdorpe, a city in the southern Netherlands, recorded temperatures of 35.4C. Although it wasn’t a record, Tuesday is predicted to be warmer there.
Thousands of hectares of land have been devastated by fires in France, Greece, Portugal, and Spain.
A guy who is thought to have set one of the fires in the area has been brought into prison, according to French prosecutors in the city of Bordeaux in the country’s southwest.
At least four people in Spain have died as a direct result of the recent high heat, and dozens of wildfires, many of which are still blazing, have scorched about 30,000 hectares (75,000 acres) of the nation.
A 69-year-old shepherd was killed by a fire in the northwest province of Zamora, according to local officials. In the same region, a fireman passed away on Sunday.
An office worker in his fifties died from heatstroke in Madrid, it was announced later on Monday.
From the south to Galicia in the extreme northwest, where blazes have scorched around 4,500 hectares (more than 11,000 acres) of land, authorities have recorded about 20 wildfires currently burning.
The prime minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, paid respect to Gullón Vara and stated that the events of the previous week provided additional evidence of the climate catastrophe while on a visit to the south-western area of Extremadura on Monday morning.
I want to be really clear about something, he said. “Climate change kills: it kills people, as we’ve seen; it kills our ecology, our biodiversity, and it also damages the things we as a society hold dear — our homes, our companies, and our animals.”
The flames in Portugal, a neighboring country where temperatures reached 47C last week, have been put out after consuming 12,000–15,000 hectares of land, killing two people, and wounding 60 others.
According to Mario Artur Lopez, the mayor of Murcia, “We found the automobile and these two persons, aged around 70 years, completely incinerated.” He claimed that the fatalities were from the nearby community of Penabeice.
The risk of flames remained extremely high despite the weekend’s reduction in temperatures, according to the Portuguese Institute of Meteorology (IPMA). Nine active wildfires were being fought by more than 1,000 firemen, 285 vehicles, and 14 aircraft, mostly in the northern areas of the country, according to officials.
- The UK Is No Longer A Cold Country And Must Adapt To The Heat, According To Climate Scientists
- Europe Suffers From Extreme Heat As Wildfires Scorch Parts Of The Continent
- UK Pledges On Deforestation May Be Threatened By Post-Brexit Trade Deals
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