Wildfires rage in France, Spain as a searing heatwave grips Europe

France has dispatched more water-bombing planes and hundreds of extra firefighters across much of Europe to battle the blazes, which are being fed by heat and wind.

Two people have been killed in a fire in Spain.

Authorities in southwestern France said they were evacuating more towns as the winds shifted, threatening to put 3,500 people in the path of the blaze.

Three more watercraft are joining six others that repeatedly ran over flames and thick clouds of smoke, the Interior Ministry said Sunday night, local time.

More than 200 reinforcements are being added to the 1,500-strong fire brigade fighting around the clock to control the blaze through the dry pine forests of the Gironde region.

Firefighters battled the fire in southwestern France
Additional aerial firefighting units were deployed in France.(AP: SDIS 33)

Spain has reported its second death in two days as it battles wildfires.

The body of a 69-year-old sheep farmer was found in the same hill area where a 62-year-old firefighter died in a fire in the northwestern Zamora district on Monday.

More than 30 wildfires across Spain have forced the evacuation of thousands of people and submerged 220 square kilometers of forest and wasteland.

High temperatures are fueling the fires in both France and Spain.

A firefighter cries near a wildfire in the Lozacio area of ​​northwestern Spain
A firefighter and a farmer were killed in a fire in Spain.(AP: Europa Press / Emilio Fraile)

Forecasters have warned of temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius on Monday. Climate change is making such life-threatening extremes less rare.

“I left my country on fire,” Spain’s Ecological Transition Minister, Teresa Ribera, said Monday at climate change talks in Berlin.

After more than 10 days of temperatures above 40C, she warned of “still dire prospects for the coming days”, with moderate cooling at night.

Heat waves and droughts linked to climate change have made wildfires more difficult to deal with.

A wildfire broke out near Landras in southwestern France
Temperatures are expected to exceed 40 degrees Celsius in parts of France and Spain.(AP: SDIS 33)

Scientists say climate change will make weather more severe and wildfires more frequent and destructive.

According to Spain’s Carlos III Institute – which records daily heat-related deaths – 237 people died between July 10 and July 14.

That compares to 25 heat-related deaths last week.

The heat wave in Spain is expected to ease on Tuesday, but the relief will be short-lived as temperatures rise again on Wednesday.

In Portugal, very cold weather on Monday helped firefighters make progress on fires there.

More than 600 firefighters were tackling four major fires in northern Portugal.


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