A thousand firefighters and 10 water jets battled two wildfires in southwestern France that forced the evacuation of 10,000 people and destroyed pine forests near the Atlantic coast.
High temperatures and strong winds have complicated firefighting efforts in the Bordeaux area, which has been engulfed by several wildfires across Europe this season.
No casualties have been reported in the fire in France. Although some houses and cars were damaged.
One of the French fires is in the forest just south of the town of Arcachon, which is a major summertime attraction for visitors from around France and beyond.
In another park not far away in vineyard-filled valleys, officials have grappled with warmer and drier weather than usual this year linked to climate change.
The fire has consumed more than 7,000 hectares of land, according to the regional emergency services.
As the fire moved into its fourth day today, one said the blaze was partially under control, but warned that heat and wind from the interior over the weekend could further complicate efforts.
Wildfires have broken out in south-eastern France and northern parts of Paris.
Portugal was hit particularly hard by wildfires this week. More than 3,000 firefighters battled with ordinary Portuguese yesterday as they tried to save their homes from a series of wildfires that have been ravaged by extreme heat and drought.
Temperatures are expected to top 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in some places in Portugal, with five districts on red alert for severe weather and firefighters battling 13 wildfires, officials said.
Spain’s Environment Ministry says it is helping to fight 17 wildfires across the country.
Officials are worried about the impact on people’s health and health care systems already under threat from the COVID-19 pandemic as extreme heat hits the continent.
The World Meteorological Organization said today that heat waves trap pollutants in the atmosphere, particularly affecting air quality in cities and towns.
“The calm and stable atmosphere acts as a lid to trap the pollutants in the atmosphere,” Lorenzo Labrador, WMO’s science officer, told a press conference in Geneva.
“These lead to air quality degradation and adverse health effects, especially for vulnerable people.”
This week in the Spanish city of Seville, the hottest place in Europe, some unions called for workers to return home.
Temperatures in many parts of Spain have topped 40C (104F) for several days and are expected to continue into next week.
Seville has become the first city to participate in a pilot project to raise awareness of the health damage caused by extreme heat and the precautions citizens should take.
“Climate-driven extreme heat is killing more people than climate-driven disasters. Heat is invisible, silent and kills slowly, and people don’t know it,” said Katie Bauman McLeod, director of the Institute. – The Atlantic Council’s Rockefeller Center for Resilience.
From July 7th to July 13th, 238 people died in Portugal due to a heat wave, according to the country’s DGS health authority.
Croatia and Hungary also battled wildfires this week. The European Union has urged member states to prepare for wildfires this summer as the continent faces another severe weather change that scientists say is fueled by climate change.