In a week of record-breaking heat in Europe, countries in the continent’s hot and dry southern belt struggled to control blazes that stretched emergency services and darkened skies.
In Greece, where a raging blaze continues to rage in Penteli, 16 miles northeast of the capital Athens, firefighters are seen battling vulnerable residents. On Tuesday night, hundreds of residents were ordered to evacuate as the blaze raged into its second day despite 500 firefighters on the scene.
Fires have ravaged much of the continent as nations grappled with unusually high temperatures, with emergency services in Portugal, Spain, France, the UK and Germany on hold.
Some relief came for much of the Southwest on Wednesday as wildfires began to subside, leaving the scars of intense, dry heat and the fires they ignited.
A wildfire in northeastern Spain has left thousands of charred trees. In the western part of the country, a goat’s skull lies between ashes and dry leaves. Many residents were returning to charred homes and properties, not even a swimming pool was safe from the fire.
A thick cloud of black smoke covered the sky in southwestern France earlier in the week, as two wildfires in the Gironde region forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes.
In Portugal, where wildfires ravaged the country last week, more than 3,000 firefighters battled with civilians trying to save their homes. Volunteers used tree branches and water hoses to put out the fire. The country is beginning to see some relief from the danger situation as the temperature cools down a bit.
Heat waves and droughts exacerbated by warmer climates make fires more destructive, more frequent and harder to fight. The warmer weather means fires are starting earlier in many countries.