European heat wave: UK on track for hottest day, wildfires ravage France and Spain – National

A heatwave that has rocked Europe moved north into Britain on Monday, where authorities warned of possible record high temperatures, and fueled fierce wildfires in France, which precipitated water bomber planes and hundreds of firefighters to fight the flames that were spreading through the dry forests.

In Spain, two people have been killed in fires that the country’s prime minister has linked to global warming, saying, “Climate change kills”.

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In France and Spain, fierce heat has fueled the blazes – part of a wall of high temperatures moving across Europe, even affecting places like Britain, where authorities issued the first-ever warning extreme heat. The country’s weather service predicts the record high of 38.7 degrees Celsius (101.7 degrees Fahrenheit), set in 2019, could be broken.

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“Forty-one is not out of place,” said Penelope Endersby, CEO of the Met Office. “We even have 43s in the model, but hopefully it won’t be as high as that.”

French forecasters have also warned of possible record high temperatures as swirling hot winds complicate firefighting efforts in the country’s southwest.


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Wildfires ravage France and Spain as residents flee burning homes


Wildfires ravage France and Spain as residents flee burning homes

This photo provided by the firefighters of the Gironde region (SDIS 33) shows a forest fire near Landiras, in the south-west of France, Sunday July 17, 2022.


SDIS 33 via access point


Authorities have started evacuating more towns, displacing 3,500 more people risking getting in the way of the raging flames that have already burned 140 square kilometers (54 square miles) of pine forests and other vegetation. This will bring the number of people evicted from their homes in Gironde to around 20,000 since the fires began on July 12.

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Regional fire chief Marc Vermeulen described the burning forests as ‘a powder keg’ and said tree trunks were breaking apart as the flames consumed them, sending searing embers into the air and spreading further flames.

“The fire is literally exploding,” he said. “We are facing extreme and exceptional circumstances.”

Three more planes were sent to join six others already battling the fires, scooping up seawater into their tanks and performing repeated flights through thick clouds of smoke, the Ministry of Health announced on Sunday evening. Interior.

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More than 200 reinforcements headed towards the 1,500 firefighters who fought night and day to contain the fires in the Gironde, where the flames moved closer to prized vineyards and the maritime basin of Arcachon famous for its oysters and beaches .

Spain, meanwhile, reported a second death in two days as it battled its own fires. The body of a 69-year-old sheep farmer was found on Monday in the same hilly area where a 62-year-old firefighter died a day earlier when he was caught in the flames in Zamora province, northeastern west. More than 30 wildfires around Spain have forced the evacuation of thousands of people and blackened 220 square kilometers (85 square miles) of forest and brush.

Heat waves and drought linked to climate change have made wildfires more difficult to fight. Scientists say climate change will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.

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“Climate change kills,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Monday during a visit to the Extremadura region, where firefighters fought three major blazes. “It kills people, it kills our ecosystems and our biodiversity.”


Click to play the video: “Canadian summer temperatures soar with heat waves and wildfires”







Canadian summer temperatures soar with heat waves and wildfires


Canadian summer temperatures soar with heat waves and wildfires

Teresa Ribera, Spain’s Ecological Transition Minister, described her country as “literally under fire” as she attended climate change talks in Berlin.

She warned of “a terrifying outlook still for the days ahead” _ after more than 10 days of temperatures above 40 C (104 F), cooling only moderately overnight.

According to Spain’s Carlos III Institute, which records temperature-related deaths daily, 237 deaths were attributed to high temperatures from July 10-14. This was compared with 25 heat-related deaths the previous week.

Spain’s heat wave is expected to ease on Tuesday, but the respite will be brief as temperatures rise again on Wednesday, particularly in the dry western region of Extremadura.

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In Portugal, much cooler weather on Monday helped fire crews make progress against the blazes. More than 600 firefighters attended four major fires in northern Portugal.


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European heat wave: Spain and France suffocate as Portugal battles wildfires


European heat wave: Spain and France suffocate as Portugal battles wildfires

UK extreme heat warning

Britain’s first-ever extreme heat warning is in effect for large parts of England as the hot, dry weather that has scorched mainland Europe over the past week moves north, disrupting travel, health care and schools.

The ‘red’ alert will last through Monday and Tuesday when temperatures could reach 40 C (104 F) for the first time, posing the risk of serious illness and even death in healthy people, according to the UK Met Office, the country’s weather service. . The highest temperature ever recorded in Britain is 38.7 C (101.7 F), a record set in 2019.

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While Monday is expected to bring record highs to south-east England, temperatures are expected to rise further as warm air moves north on Tuesday, Met Office CEO Penelope Endersby said. The extreme heat warning stretches from London in the south to Manchester and Leeds in the north.

“So tomorrow is when we really see the greatest chance of 40 degrees and temperatures above that,” Endersby told the BBC. “Forty-one is not off the cards. We even have a few 43s in the model, but hopefully it won’t be that high.

Hot weather has gripped southern Europe since last week, sparking wildfires in Spain, Portugal and France. Nearly 600 heat-related deaths have been reported in Spain and Portugal, where temperatures reached 47 C (117 F) last week.


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UK braces for first-ever extreme heat ‘red’ alert, scientists warn of health hazards


UK braces for first-ever extreme heat ‘red’ alert, scientists warn of health hazards

Climate experts warn that global warming has increased the frequency of extreme weather events, with studies showing the likelihood of UK temperatures hitting 40C is now 10 times higher than in pre-industrial times. Drought and heat waves linked to climate change have also made wildfires more difficult to fight.

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Officials in the Gironde region of southern France have announced plans to evacuate an additional 3,500 people from towns threatened by raging flames. More than 1,500 firefighters and water bombers are trying to douse the flames in the region’s dry pine forests.

In Britain, rail operators are asking customers to travel only when absolutely necessary, as the heat risks warping the tracks and disrupting the power supply, causing serious delays. Some medical appointments have been canceled to ease pressure on the health service. While some schools have closed, others are installing paddling pools and water jets to help children cool off.

Britain is not used to the temperatures expected this week, and few homes, schools or small businesses have air conditioning. In the UK, average July temperatures range from a daily high of 21 C (70 F) to a low of 12 C (53 F).

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Heatwave forecast raises concerns over wildfire risk in Spain and Portugal

Nightfall will bring little relief from the heat, with the Met Office predicting temperatures of 29 C (84 F) by midnight in London.

Monday evening will be “very oppressive” and it will be difficult to sleep, said chief meteorologist Paul Davies.

“Tomorrow is the day we are really concerned about a good chance now of reaching 40 or 41C, and with that all the health conditions that come with those higher temperatures,” he said.

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Leicester reported from Pecq. Associated Press reporters Danica Kirka and Jill Lawless in London, Geir Moulson in Berlin, Raquel Redondo in Madrid and Barry Hatton in Lisbon, Portugal, contributed to this report.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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