August 9, 2022

In Western Europe, Thousands Are Evacuated As Wildfires Rage

3 min read
In Western Europe, Thousands Are Evacuated As Wildfires Rage

In the midst of a record-breaking heatwave that shows no signs of abating, massive wildfires spread through western Europe on Saturday, scorching vast swaths of land and displacing thousands of people from their homes.

Firefighters are trying to put out fires in portions of France, Spain, and Portugal as this week’s scorching summer temperatures are predicted to maintain favorable conditions for their growth.

Strong winds hindered efforts to stop a fire that raced across pine forests in the Gironde area of southwest France, forcing the evacuation of more than 12,000 residents.

Nearly 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) of land have been destroyed by that fire and another one just south of Bordeaux, up from 7,300 on Friday.

As long as the fire is not put out, it will keep spreading, according to Vincent Ferrier, deputy prefect for Langon in Gironde.

One Gironde local who lives close to La Teste-de-Buch described the situation as “post-apocalyptic.”

She told the news agency AFP, “I’ve never seen this before.

In Western Europe, Thousands Are Evacuated As Wildfires Rage

Firefighters were tackling a number of flames in neighboring Spain as a result of days of extremely high temperatures that reached as high as 45.7C.

In the south of the nation, close to the Costa del Sol, a sizable wildfire in the town of Mijas forced more than 3,000 residents to leave their homes. Emergency services said that many people were taken to a sports complex for shelter.

“Everyone was told to leave as the cops drove up and down the street with their sirens blaring. Simply leave. No directions were given, according to 83-year-old British retiree John Pretty.

There are roughly 40 residences in our neighborhood, a Briton named Ashley Baker who resides in Mijas told the BBC. Everyone was watching it while standing outside or on balconies and was really tense.

Tourists in Torremolinos who were on the beach described towering smoke plumes rising in the hills where numerous planes were battling the wildfire.

The deadliest flames have occurred in Portugal, where a pilot of an aerial firefighting plane lost his life on Friday when his aircraft crashed while he was conducting an operation in the Foz Côa region close to the Spanish border.

This week’s flames in Portugal caused more than 160 injuries and hundreds of people to be evacuated; it was the first fatality associated with them so far this year.

In Western Europe, Thousands Are Evacuated As Wildfires Rage

According to Portugal’s health ministry, 238 people, mostly older people with underlying diseases, died as a result of the heatwave that occurred between July 7 and July 13.

Firefighters in Portugal had some relief on Saturday as temperatures in the majority of the nation dipped somewhat after reaching about 40C in recent days.

We’ve had significant fires, and we don’t want them to flare up again. Andre Fernandes, commander of the emergency and civil protection authority, told reporters, “We will maintain exceptional vigilance this weekend.

This year’s early start to fire season is due to an extremely dry and hot spring that dried up the soil.

Extreme temperatures, which experts attribute to climate change, have fuelled the fires. This week, flames have also been battled in Croatia, Hungary, California, and Morocco.

Data from the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests showed that a total of 39,550 hectares (98,000 acres) of Portugal were destroyed by wildfires from the beginning of the year through mid-June, more than quadruple the amount in the same period last year.

In the past week, fires have burned an area about two-thirds of that size.

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