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Forest fires in southern Europe

Forest fires in southern Europe

BDestroyed by severe drought and strong winds Forest fires Vast areas in parts of southern Europe sometimes cost lives. The intense heat not only lasts but also spreads. There are now also warnings in northern France. Germany and Britain must also prepare for higher temperatures early next week.

According to the Meteorological Institute Aemet, it will be extremely hot again on Sunday in large parts of Spain. In the south, in the center-west and in the north along the Ebro, temperatures can rise to more than 40 degrees from midday. Only from Monday can there be a slight cooling to about 35 degrees. The situation is similar in Portugal. But the numerous wildfires are still a far cry from a slight dip in temperatures. Forests are very dry and very dry after a dry winter and spring. There are also many resinous conifers that seem to explode. Tongues of flames ascending to the sky in the form of columns of fire with incredible heat. What remains is a gray and black lunar landscape.

Some horrific scenes occur in rural areas. Thousands of people in the two countries were forced to flee their homes and farms due to the approach of the flames about five days ago. “I have burned 130 beehives,” a farmer in the western Spanish region of Cáceres complained to Spanish state television station RTVE. Another stated that his forty sheep and his horse died in a fire, while their livestock died of thirst because they were not allowed to go to their farms. It is difficult to estimate the damage caused by fires in nature conservation parks and among wild animals. “It will take years for the landscape to recover here,” one observer said of the flames approaching Monfrague National Park.

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Thousands of firefighters are working non-stop. The crash of a single-engine plane in northern Portugal, in which the pilot died, showed just how dangerous this can be. Also in Greece, two crew members were killed when a firefighting helicopter crashed on Wednesday. In France, firefighters injured themselves while battling flames.

The wind drives the fires ahead

The weekend showed once again how difficult it can be to deploy rescue services. On Saturday morning, firefighters contained a large fire in Crete – by noon the situation was once again out of control. This was due to the gusty winds that regularly blow across the Aegean in summer. They push fire walls, re-ignite the embers, and help the sparks to ignite more fires.

Like a reel of fire: a forest fire in Landeras in the Gironde region of southwestern France

Photo: dpa

Similar scenes were played in Italy. Fires in the popular seaside resort of Bibione in the north have caused further excitement. Many tourists there fled to the sea on Friday due to the bushfires. Firefighters initially controlled the flames, but fires broke out again in places on Saturday.

Authorities in Sicily issued the highest risk level for wildfires on Sunday. Sardinia’s Civil Protection forecast also included an increase in the risk of forest fires in the center from north to south on Sunday.

There is also a high risk of wildfires in southern France. A forest fire south of Bordeaux has been raging for several days in the meantime, but has flared up again, according to the responsible prefecture in the Gironde province. Another destructive wildfire in the area is being continued by shifting winds. Compensatory rain is initially unexpected. Temperatures are rising in large parts of the country. There are now also heat warnings in northwest Brittany.

France Radio International reports that more than 10,000 hectares of forest have caught fire in the Gironde in southwest France. The situation remains very critical, and the evacuation of residents continues.

It’s also getting hotter in Germany

While it was relatively cold in Germany, significant heat with maximum values ​​of 40 degrees is also expected in the coming days. According to the forecast of the German Weather Service (DWD) on Saturday, the temporary peak should be reached on Tuesday. In the southwest and west, the 40-degree mark can be cracked. According to the Department of Human Development, the highest temperatures in the southwest will be between 25 and 31 degrees on Sunday.

UK temperatures were expected early next week due to the approaching heat. The British Met Office issued a red alert for the first time due to high temperatures. Temperatures are expected to reach 40 degrees in large parts of England between London and Manchester on Monday and Tuesday next week. The previous record temperature of 38.7 degrees was measured in Cambridge in 2019.