Amid Heatwave, Wildfires in France, Spain & Portugal Force Thousands to Flee

All three countries continue to experience record-breaking temperatures which has led to these wildfires.

Climate Change
2 min read

Wildfires triggered by a record-breaking heatwave in Europe continued to ravage France, Spain and Portugal on Sunday, 17 July, forcing thousands to evacuate their homes.

In France, where the blaze has now spread across 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres) in the country's southwestern region of Gironde, more than 14,000 people were evacuated as of Sunday afternoon, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, helicopters had to spray water on the flames in Spain, with blistering heat and mountainous terrain making the job difficult for firefighters.

Over 3,000 people had to be evacuated in the country's Malaga province, where wildfires raged through the night .

Five forest and rural fires continue to ravage Portugal while the country grapples with extreme drought. A total of 39,550 hectares (98,000 acres) in the country has already been destroyed by wildfires from the start of the year until mid-June.


Rising Temperatures Causing Deaths

The French weather service predicted temperatures of up to 41 degrees in parts of the country's south on Sunday and new heat records are expected on Monday. Around 38 out of France's 96 departments were listed on "orange" alert, in the latest weather warning.

While Spain has been experiencing a week-long heatwave with highs of 45.7 degree Celsius, figures from Spain’s Carlos III public health institute, revealed that 360 people died between 10 July to 15 July due to the heatwave. On 15 July alone, 123 people were reported dead.

Temperatures across Portugal exceeded 40 degrees Celsius in the past week, with one meteorological station in the country witnessing 47 degrees Celsius. 238 people died of the heatwave between 7 July - 13 July, the country's health ministry said.

These record-breaking temperatures are expected to hit Britain early next week, where a national emergency has been declared after a red extreme heat warning was issued with temperatures expected to soar to 40 degree Celsius.

The extreme heat warning signifies that there is a risk to life and daily routines will need to change.

(With inputs from Reuters and The Guardian.)

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Topics:  Wildlife   Wildfires 

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