Forest fires sweep France and Spain while heat waves sweep Europe

Forest fires sweep France and Spain while heat waves sweep Europe
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  • Fires start in southwestern France and Spain
  • Health officials report hundreds of heat-related deaths
  • UK emergency committee to meet after weather warning

PARIS/LISBON, Jul 16 (Reuters) – Wildfires swept through southwestern France and Spain on Saturday, forcing thousands to be evacuated from their homes as high summer temperatures put authorities on alert in some parts of Europe.

Some 14,000 people had been evacuated from France’s Gironde region by Saturday afternoon as more than 1,200 firefighters battled to control the flames, regional authorities said in a statement. read more

“We have a fire that will continue to spread as long as it is not stabilized,” Vincent Ferrier, deputy prefect of Langon en Gironde, told a news conference.

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Forest fires have swept through France in recent weeks, as well as other European countries including Portugal and Spain, with more than 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) of land burning in the Gironde region on Saturday, up from 7,300 hectares on Friday. .

In the latest weather warning, 38 of France’s 96 departments were listed on “orange” alert, and residents in those areas were urged to be vigilant. The heat wave in western France is expected to peak on Monday, with temperatures topping 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).

In neighboring Spain, firefighters were battling a series of fires on Saturday after days of unusually high temperatures reaching 45.7 C (114 F).

The nearly week-long heat wave has caused 360 heat-related deaths, according to figures from the Carlos III Health Institute.

More than 3,000 people have been evacuated from their homes due to a large forest fire near Mijas, a town in the province of Malaga very popular with tourists from northern Europe, the region’s emergency services said in a tweet to the first Saturday time.

Many were taken to shelter in a provincial sports center.

“Police were driving up and down the road with their sirens blaring and everyone was told to get out. Just get out. No instructions on where to go,” said 83-year-old British pensioner John Pretty.

“It’s scary… because you don’t know what’s going on,” said Belgian resident Jean-Marie Vandelanotte, 68.

Elsewhere in Spain, thick plumes of black smoke rose into the air near Casas de Miravete in the Extremadura region as helicopters dropped water on flames that burned 3,000 hectares, forced the evacuation of two towns and threatened to reach the park. National Monfrague.

Fires were also burning in the central region of Castilla y León and in Galicia in the north.

There was a respite for firefighters in Portugal, where temperatures dropped across most of the country on Saturday after reaching 40 C (104 F) in recent days.

“We have had big fires and we don’t want them to be reactivated again… We will maintain extreme vigilance this weekend,” the commander of the Civil Protection and Emergencies Authority, André Fernandes, told reporters.

A total of 39,550 hectares (98,000 acres) were devastated by wildfires from the beginning of the year to mid-June, more than triple the area burned by fires in the same period last year, data from the Institute for Nature Conservation and the Forests. He showed.

An area equivalent to almost two-thirds of what has burned during the fires in the last week.

Portugal’s health ministry said 238 people had died as a result of the heat wave between July 7 and 13, most of them elderly with underlying conditions.


Across the Mediterranean from Europe, flames in Morocco have swept through more than 2,000 hectares of forest in the northern areas of Larache, Ouazzane, Taza and Tetouane, killing at least one person, local authorities said.

More than 1,000 households were evacuated from their villages and water-carrying planes helped extinguish most of the fires Friday night, though firefighters were still struggling to put out three hot spots near Larache.

In Britain, the national meteorologist issued its first “extreme heat” red warning for parts of England on Monday and Tuesday.

With possibly record temperatures expected, the government’s emergency response committee will meet later on Saturday.

The highest recorded temperature in Great Britain was 38.7 C (101.7 F), recorded in Cambridge on July 25, 2019.

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Reporting by Layli Faroudi in Paris, Sergio Gonclaves in Lisbon, Mariano Valladolid and Jon Nazca in Malaga, Ahmed Eljechtimi in Rabat, and Jessica Jones and Michael Holden in London Written by Helen Popper Edited by Frances Kerry and Christina Fincher

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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