Temperatures may remain above normal through the middle of next week, according to the World Meteorological Organization. He warned that such incidents may occur more frequently in the future.
Record July temperatures have sparked devastating and deadly wildfires in Europe, with thousands of firefighters battling them from Portugal to the United Kingdom.
More than 1,000 people have died due to the heat, and thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes as the fires have destroyed forests and residential areas.
Temperatures may remain above normal through the middle of next week, according to the World Meteorological Organization. He warned that such incidents may happen more frequently in the future.
“The direction is clear and in the future such heat waves will become more common and we will see stronger extremes,” said WMO Secretary-General Petri Thalas.
With human-caused climate change triggering droughts, the number of wildfires is expected to increase by 30 percent over the next 28 years, according to a February 2022 United Nations report.
Portugal has reported more than 1,000 deaths due to a heat wave, and its health chief has warned that the country must prepare for the effects of climate change as temperatures rise.
Last week, temperatures in drought-stricken Portugal exceeded 40C, leaving much of the country under severe fire risk, according to national meteorological office IPMA.
Several villages in Portugal have been evacuated and the local mayor says more than 3,000 hectares have burned.
Officials are worried about a repeat of 2017, when 66 people died in wildfires.
In Spain, dozens of wildfires have ravaged parts of the country, from as far south as Galicia in the far northwest.
More than 30 wildfires across Spain have displaced thousands of people and engulfed 220 square kilometers of forest and wasteland.
Spain’s climate change minister, Teresa Ribera, has described her country as “on fire” as she attends climate change talks in Berlin.
After more than 10 days of temperatures in excess of 40C, with moderate cooling at night, she warned of “still dire prospects for the coming days”.
More than 500 people may die in Spain due to the heat, according to estimates from the Ministry of Health.
In France, hundreds of firefighters, aided by six water-bombing planes, battled two wildfires in the southwest, forcing thousands to evacuate camps, Gironde administrator Fabine Buccio said.
More than 2,700 hectares have so far burned in France’s Gironde region, Buccio told BFM TV.
The larger of the two fires surrounded the town of Landras, pictured above, with roads closed and 500 residents evacuated.
Fires in southwest France have displaced 16,200 people.
In the year After a bad heat wave in 2003 and poor planning killed nearly 15,000 people, mostly the elderly, the French government stepped up its efforts to protect the elderly, homeless and other vulnerable populations.
A wildfire fanned by strong winds in the mountainous region of Penteli near Athens is burning homes and ordering the evacuation of at least nine areas and one hospital.
At around 1430 GMT on Tuesday, a thick cloud of smoke darkened the sky over Mount Penteli, where the fire broke out. It is located 27 km north of central Athens.
The fire department said there were no reports of injuries Wednesday.
Around 485 firemen and 120 fire engines have been deployed to control the fire which is burning in different directions.
More than seven helicopters and airplanes dropped water on the fire, though they stopped operations at night for safety reasons.
A hospital and the National Observatory of Athens were evacuated as a precaution. Traffic was halted on the roads leading to Penteli and police helped evacuate at least 600 residents from areas affected by the fire.
Strong storms are forecast to continue through Wednesday afternoon.
Temperatures in the UK hit 40C for the first time on Tuesday.
The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has declared an official “major incident” after several significant fires in the capital.
Around 100 firefighters were sent to a village in east London where black smoke billowed into the sky and buildings were engulfed in flames.
A firefighter described the situation as “absolute hell,” local media reported.
Another major event has been declared after several wildfires in Yorkshire in the north of England.
A wildfire broke out in Norfolk in eastern England and 90 firefighters were sent to tackle a separate blaze in Kent in the south-east of the country.
The Health Protection Agency (UKHSA) heat health warning has been raised to level 4 for the UK.
The British Meteorological Office defines a level 4 alert as a national emergency and is used when heatwaves are “so severe and/or prolonged that damage has spread outside the health and social care system.”
Source: TRTWorld and agencies