France was braving the country’s worst heat wave on Monday, with scorching temperatures expected from the Mediterranean as wildfires continue across Europe.
Forecasters have placed 15 units France The highest warning level for extreme heat is in place in the south-west, including the Gironde, where wildfires have already wreaked havoc.
Firefighters battled to contain wildfires in south-west Europe on Sunday, as a heatwave showed no sign of abating. Britain It is set to set new temperature records next week.
Fires in France, Greece, Portugal and Spain have destroyed thousands of hectares of land and displaced thousands of residents and holidaymakers.
It is the second heat wave to hit parts of Europe in weeks. Scientists blame climate change and predict more frequent and severe weather events such as heat waves and droughts.
In France’s Landes Forest, in the south-west Aquitaine region, temperatures are forecast to top 42C (107F), Olivier Proust said.
And Brittany, which until recently escaped extreme heat, could record temperatures of up to 40C (104F), which experts say would be a record for the region.
By late Sunday, the Gironde fire, which had been burning since Tuesday, had already burned 13,000 hectares (32,000 acres), driven by winds and forcing the evacuation of 16,200 vacationers, fire service officials said.
– A fire in the Teste-de-Buch forest in southwestern France has reached the coast and is moving south, local authorities said. Video captured by bystanders shows the fire engulfing the beach at La Lagne, near Europe’s longest sand dune.
France’s interior ministry has announced it will send three more firefighting planes to reinforce the six firefighting planes already operating in the region, as well as 200 more firefighters and other equipment.
But crews battling the blaze will have to contend with soaring temperatures on Monday. It is one of the regions on “red alert” heat wave warning.
“It will be a heat apocalypse in certain zones in the south-west,” Meteo-France forecaster François Gorand told AFP.
Temperatures are expected to top 30C (86F) across France, but between 38 and 40 degrees in the west of the country.
Meanwhile, authorities in several states have issued pollution warnings due to high ozone concentrations.
“Very, very difficult conditions,” described French cyclist Michael Cherel as he took part in the 15th stage of the Tour de France between Rodez and Carcassonne in southern France on Sunday.
“I’ve never had such a hot day on the bike. It certainly wasn’t a picnic.
in SpainIn various parts of the country, from the south to Galicia in the northwest, nearly 4,500 hectares of land have been destroyed by fire, and about 20 wildfires are still out of control, officials said.
The fires have killed several emergency workers since last week, most recently a firefighter who died battling a blaze in the country’s northwest.
In the southern region of Andalusia, they managed to calm the wildfire that destroyed 2,000 hectares of trees and bushes, said regional leader Juan Manuel Moreno.
The fire started on Friday in the Mijas mountain range, inland from the southern coastal city of Malaga, prompting the evacuation of around 3,000 people.
Since then, about 2,000 people have returned to their homes, and now that the fire has calmed down, Moreno said the rest of the evacuees may do the same.
A firefighter died Sunday in a blaze while battling a blaze in Spain’s northwestern province of Zamora, the regional government said.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez expressed his “sorrow and love” to the man’s family and colleagues.
“There are no words to express our gratitude to those who are relentlessly fighting the fire for the great work they are doing. RIP,” he added on Twitter.
Sanchez is due to visit the eastern state of Extremadura on Monday, which has been battling several fires for days.
The firefighter’s death comes after a pilot was killed in a crash in northern Portugal last week, and two crew members died when their helicopter crashed into the sea in Greece.
Extreme heat claimed two lives in Spain over the weekend.
The 50-year-old man from Torrejon de Ardoz, outside Madrid, died on Sunday after suffering from extreme heat while out for a walk, local emergency services said.
And on Saturday, a 60-year-old street cleaner in Madrid died of heatstroke while working the previous day.
in PortugalThe whole country remained on high alert for wildfires, despite temperatures dropping slightly, after hitting 47C – a July record – on Thursday.
Only one large fire was burning in the north on Sunday.
In Portugal, the fire killed two people, injured about 60 and destroyed 12,000 to 15,000 hectares of land.
in the united kingdomThe Met Office has issued its first “red” warning for high temperatures, warning that there is a “danger to life”.
The Met Office said temperatures in southern England could top 40C for the first time on Monday or Tuesday, prompting some schools to close next week.
Organizers of a four-day rally in the Netherlands canceled the first day of the rally, which was due to start on Tuesday, due to extreme heat.
The mercury is set to reach 38C in parts of the Netherlands on Tuesday.
Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.