Deadly wildfires have spread to Portugal, France and Spain as heatwave grips Europe
Thousands of firefighters are battling the deadly blazes that have swept across Europe this week as a heatwave grips the continent.
A ferocious fire has ravaged pine forests in the Bordeaux region of France for five consecutive days, while forest fires in Portugal have killed one person.
The pilot of a firefighting plane died on Friday when his plane crashed during an operation in northeastern Portugal.
More than 160 people have been injured by the blaze and hundreds have been evacuated from towns this week.
Gemma Suarez, a Spanish farmer evacuated from Casas de Miravete, sobbed as she recalled the ordeal: “What a night. We haven’t slept all night.
“A social worker came to see me to pick up my elderly uncle. We spent the night at Navalmoral, but we did not sleep at all. I have never seen such a big fire.
The fire season has hit parts of Europe earlier than usual this year after an unusually dry and hot spring that authorities blame on climate change.
Some 3,000 firefighters supported by water-dropping planes are battling blazes in southern France and Greece has sent firefighting equipment to help.
More than 11,000 people were evacuated from villages and campsites.
Firefighters managed to contain one of the worst fires overnight near the Atlantic coast resort of Arcachon, popular with tourists from across Europe, the regional emergency service said on Saturday.
But he added that “difficult weather conditions” thwarted efforts to contain the region’s biggest fire, which broke out in the town of Landiras, south of a valley of Bordeaux vineyards.
They are focusing their efforts on using fire trucks to surround at-risk villages and save as many homes as possible, Charles Lafourcade, overseeing the firefighting operation, told reporters at the scene.
The two fires have burned at least 23,800 acres of land in recent days.
A similar scene is unfolding in Portugal, where more than 3,000 firefighters fought alongside desperate ordinary citizens to save their homes from several wildfires that raged across the country, fanned by extreme temperatures and harsh conditions. drought.
The country’s Civil Protection Agency said 10 fires were still burning on Friday.
Portuguese state television RTP reported on Friday that the area burned this year had already exceeded the 2021 total. More than 74,000 acres of land had been burned, it said, most in the past week. .
In southern Andalusia, Spain, 3,000 people have been evacuated from villages at risk following a fire that broke out near the village of Mijas in the province of Malaga. Around 200 firefighters, supported by 18 aircraft, attempted to contain the blaze. Authorities were investigating his cause.
For a sixth day, firefighters were also trying to control a fire started by a lightning strike in the west-central region of Las Hurdes. Some 400 people from eight villages were evacuated on Friday as flames approached their homes and threatened to spread into nearby Monfragüe National Park.
Croatia and Hungary also battled wildfires this week, as did California and Morocco. Many European countries are facing exceptional heat this month, and this is attributed to climate change.
Portuguese authorities said a national high of 47C in July was recorded in the northern city of Pinhão on Wednesday.
European Union officials warned last week that climate change was to blame for the extremely dry and hot summer so far on the continent, urging local authorities to prepare and prepare residents for the forest fires.