Spate of wildfires scorches parts of Europe amid heat wave

LISBON, Portugal (AP) – A wildfire is raging in parts of Europe, with authorities battling wildfires in Portugal, Spain and southern France in an unusual heat wave linked to climate change on Wednesday.

According to André Fernandez, Portugal’s chief of civil defense, more than 600 people were killed in the blaze. About 120 people need treatment, and two people – one civilian and one firefighter – were seriously injured, Fernandez said.

Water extension planes helped 1,300 firefighters cope with the blaze in the central part of the country, while another 1,000 managed to contain the blaze.

European heat waves are raging in Spain and France – and Turkey on the other end of the Mediterranean.

More than 800 firefighters have battled two wildfires in the region outside of Bordeaux in southwestern France, the regional emergency service said. The blaze broke out Tuesday near the towns of Landras and La Tes-de-Buch, and firefighters were unable to control it until Wednesday morning.

6,500 people have been displaced from camps and villages in the forest. The extent of the damage is unclear. The two fires destroyed more than 1,800 hectares (4,400 acres) of land, according to the emergency services.

Firefighters Images As the fire circulated between trees and meadows, it was blown away by strong winds and blackened the horizon.

The regional administration has banned activities in forested areas. Many regions in southern France are on fire due to hot, dry weather and high winds. A wildfire broke out in the Gardens region of southeastern France last week.

Portugal has long suffered from deadly forest fires. In 2017, wildfires killed more than 100 people. Portugal has improved forest management and firefighting strategies and no one has died in wildfires since.

Last year, Portugal recorded the lowest wildfires since 2011. However, high winds and dry winds in Africa are pushing the Iberian Peninsula to higher temperatures than usual.

The Atlantic nation, which has been on fire since last week, is sending temperatures of 465 (115 Fahrenheit) on Wednesday and Thursday in the central Alenthe region. Officials say 96 percent of the country was hit by a “severe” or “severe” drought in late June.

More than 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) were consumed alone in Lriabe district, north of Lisbon, Mayor Gonkalo Lops told Portuguese Broadcasting Corporation.

Neighboring Spain reached 43 C (109.4 F) high in several southern cities on Tuesday.

More than 400 people have been displaced by a wildfire that swept across 3,500 acres[8,600 ha]in western Spain.

EU officials warned last week that climate change was behind the continent’s dryest and hottest summer, urging local officials to support wildfires.

Spain’s national weather forecast spokesman Caitano Torres said “unusual” heat waves and lack of rain have created fire-fighting conditions in recent months.

“These are ideal conditions for fire expansion, which, when added to some wind, guarantees expansion,” he said.

A fire broke out in the village of Datka Musudiye near the Aegean Sea Resort in southwestern Turkey, according to the provincial administration. He said at least nine helicopters and five helicopters were deployed to fight the blaze.

Last summer, fires broke out in the Mediterranean and Aegean regions of Turkey. The wildfire, which killed at least eight people and countless animals, is said to be the worst in Turkish history.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has been criticized for its poor response and readiness to fight large-scale wildfires, including a shortage of modern firefighting aircraft.


Joseph Wilson reports from Barcelona, ​​Spain. Contributed by Angela Charlton of Paris, Renata Brito of Barcelona, ​​and Susan Fraser of Istanbul.


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