As the climate alarm sounded last week, emergency services battled wildfires in southern Portugal, Spain, and Italy, with mass evacuations underway. In Britain, temperatures were on course to become the hottest on record, with mercury readings already reaching 40 degrees. Train services were cancelled and schools closed early, with ministers urging the public to stay home. In Portugal, the city of Murca, where the wildfires are raging, more than 900 firefighters are working to put out the flames.
Portugal had extended its fire risk alert until Thursday. Several fires raged throughout the country, including the Murca fire, which was battling high winds and temperatures. Spain was also hit by a rash of fires in recent weeks, with more than a dozen fires burning in various parts of the country. Spain’s national weather service, AEMET, put 14 metropolitan areas on the highest heat wave alert, and forecasters said temperatures this week could reach up to 40 degrees Celsius.
In Britain, the Met Office’s chief scientist, Stephen Belcher, has said that Britain could face similar heatwaves every three years. He said that if emissions of greenhouse gases aren’t reduced, Britain may suffer heatwaves every three years, forcing structural decisions in the country. However, in southern Europe, fires have grown in size and are threatening cities and towns.
Across Europe, wildfires are raging. A heatwave accompanied by drought conditions has caused fires across Europe. Firefighters in Spain, Portugal, and Greece are battling the blazes, with the Gironde region currently under fire. In Portugal, olive tree grower Manuel Lopes, who lives near Gironde, said he feared for the future of his region and plantations. He said his grandchildren would suffer because of climate change.
The fires raging in southern Europe threaten to disrupt the lives of millions of people. Wildfires were also reported in Greece, where a mountain range north of Athens was burning. However, laterAstăzi, Greek authorities were able to put out the blaze. The heatwave has prompted a number of protests and demonstrations in some cities.
The Greek fire service says that despite the weather forecast, it is unlikely the wildfires will reach the capital city. However, a fire near Trieste, Slovenia, has already prompted the city’s mayor to call for a water cut. Meanwhile, thick smoke enveloped Mount Penteli in Greece. The fire service said that around 500 firefighters, 120 fire engines, and 15 water-carrying helicopters fought the fires.