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Western Europe fights fires and prepares for record temperatures

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several countries of Western Europeamong them France Y Spaincontinued to fight this Sunday against devastating forest fires, triggered by a heat wave that could break records of temperature in the coming days.

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According to scientists, there is a direct relationship between heat waves and climate change, as greenhouse gas emissions increase in intensity, duration and frequency.

In Spain, about 20 forest fires were still active and out of control in different parts of the country, from the south to the north.

In Galicia (northwest) the fires devastated some 4,500 hectares during the week, according to the authorities. And in the province of Malaga, in Andalusia (south), a fire in the Sierra de Mijas destroyed some 2,000 hectares, local authorities said.

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The flames forced the evacuation of just over 3,000 people, but 2,000 were able to return to their homes.

“We have not stopped working all night,” said the Andalusian Minister of Agriculture, Carmen Crespo, on public television, referring to the work of the firefighters.

The meteorological agency had forecast “significantly high” temperatures in most of the territory. It was the town of Don Benito, near Badajoz (west), which recorded the highest temperature in the country, with 43.4 ºC.

In Madrid, a cleaning employee died on Saturday after suffering heat stroke while working, according to local authorities.

More than 12,000 hectares devastated in Portugal

In Portugal, the neighboring country, only one large fire was considered active, near the municipality of Chaves, in the extreme north of the country. It is “practically controlled” in 90% of its perimeter, according to Civil Protection.

However, almost the entire Portuguese territory presented a “maximum”, “very high” or “elevated” risk of fires on Sunday, especially the interior regions of the center and north.

The Portuguese meteorological institute did not issue a red alert for heat on Sunday.

The fires of the last week left two dead and about 60 injured, according to the latest balance from the authorities. The flames destroyed between 12,000 and 15,000 hectares, according to calculations.

In Greece, another country where fires have been declared in recent days, the authorities decided to preventively evacuate seven villages in an area of ​​the Rethymno prefecture in Crete. However, the fire declared on Friday on that island is under control, indicated Civil Protection.

“The heat wave spreads”

In France, the situation is critical. In the southwest of the country, firefighters continue to fight two fires that have already ravaged nearly 11,000 hectares since Tuesday in the Bordeaux region, an area equivalent to that of Paris, engineer Guillaume Rozier explained to AFP.

According to the Météo-France meteorological agency, temperatures could reach 40ºC in that area. On Sunday, 51 departments were under orange watch for high temperatures and 15 under red watch, the highest.

“The heat is increasing, the heat wave is spreading throughout the country,” warned the aforementioned agency. The authorities predict that Monday will be the “hottest day for the west of the country”, with temperatures that could exceed 40 ºC in Brittany, Basse-Normandie, Aquitaine and western Occitanie.

In the tourist Arcachon Bay, on the shores of the Atlantic, firefighters managed to stop the advance of the fire, although in the early hours of Sunday “several new fires threatened the Pilat dune campsites, which had to be evacuated,” said the prefecture of the Gironde department on Twitter.

In the Teste-de-Buch area, the flames progressed overnight and destroyed 3,400 hectares. Further west, near Landiras, the fires lost intensity thanks to an “effective strategy” that consists of setting “tactical fires and creating firebreaks”, explained a spokesman for the fire department. Some 7,100 hectares have already burned.

Temperatures are not dropping in the UK either, where authorities have issued the first national emergency for extreme heat.

This “red” alert implies a “risk to life”, according to the meteorological office. In the south of England, temperatures could exceed 40C for the first time on Monday or Tuesday.

And in the Netherlands, organizers of a four-day hiking trail have canceled the first day of the event that was due to start on Tuesday due to extreme heat.

The mercury will reach 38ºC in some areas of the country on Tuesday.

Source: Gestion

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