The Iberian Peninsula and south-west France are plagued by devastating fires and intensifying temperatures, while further north the United Kingdom has gone on red alert, fearing temperatures will never reach their first.
This heat wave is the second in barely a month. The spread of these events is a direct result of global warming according to scientists, with greenhouse gas emissions increasing in intensity, duration and frequency.
Two killed in Portugal
In Portugal, hit by scorching temperatures for a week and a series of fires, emergency services on Friday evening identified a dozen active fires that mobilized more than 900 firefighters.
According to the Civil Defense, two people were killed in these fires, including the pilot of a water bomber – a medium-sized aircraft, of the Fireboss type – that caught fire in the evening near Vila Nova de Foz Coa in the north. crashed while fighting. Garda area.
At the same time, also in northern Portugal, one of the most worrying fires was raging in the municipality of Baiao, a mountainous area in the Porto region, upstream from the Douro, the great river that crosses it.
“Every year there is a fire here this season, but usually it’s not that bad,” AFP Maria, a 71-year-old retired teacher living in the village of Ariz, testified.
As of 15 July, more than 30,000 hectares have gone up in smoke in Portugal since the start of the year, the highest figure on this date since 2017, a year marked by violent wildfires that killed a hundred people. , Temperatures in the north reached 47 degrees the day before, before dipping slightly on Friday, the record for a month in July in this country.
“Fireball” in France
In the southwest of France, firefighters battle this Saturday morning in Gironde to fix two major wildfires that have devastated more than 9,000 hectares since Tuesday in La Teste-de-Buch and Landiras, a- We learned provinces and firefighters.
At Teste-de-Buch, the progress of the fire has slowed. Burnt surface persists “steady”, With smoke covered 3,150 hectares, Gironde’s prefecture said in a press release posted on Twitter. there was fire “Material but it is still not decided. We are not going to claim victory because we are still in the fighting phase”, For his part the spokesman for the firefighters, Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Mendouse, explained to AFP.
“Here, there were fire tunnels, you have to imagine a fireball”, told AFP Commander Laurent Dellac, who spoke to La Teste-de-Bouch.
The situation on the other front in Landiras and Guillos remains the same. “always unfavourable”, according to him. The fire keeps on growing, keeps on burning “Over 6,000 hectares, or more than 1,000 hectares, since 10:00 last night”, said the province. a fire for “criminal thesis is privileged”According to the prosecution.
During the night from Friday to Saturday, no additional evacuations were made on the two fires. Since the beginning of the fire, “about 12,000” The prefecture said in a statement that residents and tourists had to leave the premises. Five emergency housing centers and a medical-psychological emergency unit were also opened to assist the victims.
On the banks of the Pond of Cazaux and Sanguinet, the smoke from the La Teste fire darkened the beaches, photographed by many who posted photos on social networks. there is “No Proven Toxicity” and swimming “Therefore is not prohibited”, Municipality of Biscarosse on Facebook confirmed.
The fires, with no casualties, began at the beginning of an episode of a heat wave that has affected France, mainly in the west and south, since Monday. Gironde, like fifteen other departments, is placed on orange “heat wave” alert by Météo-France.
over 40 degrees in spain
From Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said a lot in a tweet “Attentive to the development of active fires that led to the evacuation of many municipalities”stimulus “An extreme exposure to very high temperature conditions”.
Most of these fires were in the Portuguese border region of Extremadura, where thousands of hectares have been burned in recent days. he knew “adverse development” and threatened Monfrague National Park, a natural area protected for its biodiversity.
Another wildfire alarmed officials in Mijas, a few dozen kilometers from Malaga in Andalusia (south), where 2,300 people from nearby communities were displaced, according to emergency services.
At 4:20 pm, the temperature in the south-west of Badajoz province was 43.9 degrees and the mercury was above 40 degrees in most areas.
Across the Mediterranean, one person has died in remote forest fires in northern Morocco, officials said.
Red Alert in UK: “For the first time we have forecasts over 40°C”
This heat wave will move further north over the weekend. In Britain, which first issued a red alert “Excessive heat” For Monday and Tuesday, the population is preparing for temperatures potentially reaching never before.
“We hoped that we would never get into this situation, but, for the first time, we have a forecast of over 40 °C in the United Kingdom”, Climate scientist Dr. Nikos Christidis said. The absolute temperature record (38.7 degrees) in this country is from 2019.
The NHS Public Health Service has warned of a “jump” in hospitals related to the heat.
Ireland and Belgium are also expecting a scorching start to the week with local temperatures reaching 32 and 40 degrees respectively.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has also warned of poor air quality, a factor “Unfortunately removed from these heat waves”, According to scientific manager Lorenzo Labrador, who talk about “High concentrations of air pollutants and ozone levels”.
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