Record heat wave in Europe; thousands flee wildfires in France, Spain


LONDON – “Britain is melting,” a front page read Tuesday, as sweltering temperatures and massive fires in France and Spain threatened many Europeans.

Schools are closed across Britain and subway officials are urging commuters to stay indoors as the UK’s weather service says Monday is the country’s hottest night on record. And Tuesday is the hottest day.

A temporary temperature of 102.38 degrees (39.1 Celsius) was recorded in the country, which declared a national emergency, while holding a bracket for 106 degrees (41 Celsius).

The UK is at an all-time high after 363 years of tracking summer temperatures.

“Earth sends warning” to scientists’ warnings about the challenges climate change poses to everyday life, read another British headline.

Train heat can break tracks, blocking train traffic. And the London Ambulance Service is prepared for emergency situations such as fainting and heatstroke.

Experts have pointed to the role of climate change in humans as wildfires in Spain and France forced thousands of people from their homes.

As wildfires burn tens of thousands of hectares of land in Spain, The video shows a man walking out of a burning fire. He ran across the field from the yellow flame that burned the Nous excavation in Zamora A province where thousands of people have fled dozens of villages.

These maps show how hot it is in Europe and the US

Train services between the capital Madrid and northwestern Galicia were suspended on Tuesday because of a fire near the tracks. Transportation officials said..

A Spaniard who fled a wildfire died on July 18 when the fire engulfed his quarry in Zamora, Spain. (Video: Reuters)

Wildfires that have destroyed at least 19,000 hectares of land in southwestern France are still blanketed by popular beaches and vacation spots after more firefighters were sent to the region on the west coast in the Gironde on Tuesday morning. Officials said nearly 37,000 people had fled their homes last week.

Cities and towns along the Atlantic coast got a bit of a reprieve early Tuesday, when a cool ocean air mass arrived from the west overnight. The French Meteorological Agency raised the “red” alert level in 15 areas, saying the atmosphere was becoming “very breathable”.

How to stay safe in extreme heat

Still, “the heat wave is moving to the eastern part of the country,” the Meteo-France agency said, and 70 other regions of the country remained on the “orange” heat warning level. High temperatures are expected to range from 95 to 104 degrees (35 to 40 Celsius).

Record temperatures in Britain have sparked calls for action on climate change. “The probability of anywhere in the UK exceeding 40C in a year is rapidly increasing,” said Nikos Christidis, a scientist at the Met Office’s climate service – describing the temperature as “historic”.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told government representatives at a climate summit in Berlin on Monday that world leaders faced a choice on climate change: “collective action or collective suicide.” “It’s in our hands.”

A national emergency in Britain as a deadly heat wave sweeps across Europe

Timsit reports from Paris.

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