From Portugal to Greece, the authorities fight against forest fires

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From Portugal to Greece, authorities fight forest fires

In Gironde, in the south-west of France, nearly 10,500 hectares of forest have gone up in smoke since Tuesday.

Several Western European countries continued to fight Sunday against devastating forest fires, the result of a long-lasting heat wave that could break several temperature records early next week.

In the south-west of France, the mobilization of firefighters did not weaken to control the fires, particularly in Gironde where nearly 10,500 hectares of forest have gone up in smoke since Tuesday, in a context of generalized heat wave.

Temperatures could reach 40 degrees locally, according to Météo-France, which placed 37 departments on heat wave orange vigilance this Sunday. The heat is growing, the heat wave is spreading over the country, warns the public meteorological establishment.

Monday promises to be the hottest day for the west of the country, forecasts Météo-France, which expects the 40 degree mark to still be reached in Brittany, Lower Normandy, Aquitaine and in the west of Occitania.

For the time being, in the touristic Arcachon basin, on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, the efforts made have made it possible to slow down the progression of the fire, even if during the night from Saturday to Sunday, several outbreaks of fire threatened the campsites of the Dune du Pilat, which had to be evacuated from their guards, the Gironde prefecture said on Twitter.

In the Teste-de-Buch sector, where the fire progressed little during the night – going from 3,200 to 3,400 hectares that went up in smoke – the night was complicated, said Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Mendousse, specifying that the strategy was to protect the campsites, which we managed to do.

Further inland, towards Landiras, the fire also progressed less than the previous night, going from 7,000 to 7,100 hectares burned, thanks to an effective strategy via the lighting of tactical fires and the creation of firewalls, adds the porter. – word of the firefighters.

In total, more than 14,000 residents and holidaymakers have had to pack their bags urgently since Tuesday. Seven emergency accommodation centers and a medico-psychological emergency unit have been opened to support the victims.

Even if the situation is a little calmer in Portugal, the country is however not immune to fires.

Portugal knew Sunday morning a lull on the front of fires. A single large focus, near the municipality of Chaves in the far north of the country, was considered active and practically under control over 90% of its perimeter, according to Portuguese civil protection.

Nevertheless, almost the entire Portuguese territory presented a maximum, very high or high fire risk on Sunday, in particular the central and northern interior regions.

For on Sunday, no red heat alert was issued by the Portuguese Meteorological Institute. This is the first time since July 8 that temperatures are not expected to exceed 40 degrees in Portugal.

According to the latest known report from Portuguese civil protection, the fires of the past week have left two dead and around sixty injured. According to his estimates, these fires have ravaged between 12,000 and 15,000 hectares of forest and brush since the start of the heat wave.

In Spain, several people have left their homes to avoid the fires that have ravaged around 4400 hectares of land.

In Spain, around 20 forest fires are still raging and remain out of control in different parts of the country, from the south to the far northwest in Galicia, where the fires have so far destroyed around 4,400 hectares of land this week, authorities said.

Only 300 of the 3,000 people evacuated as a precautionary measure near Malaga in the far south have been allowed to return to their homes on Sunday.

The Spanish Meteorological Agency predicts significantly high temperatures for most of mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean for Sunday, with mercury expected to reach up to 42 degrees in the northern city of Logroño, and 40 degrees in Madrid and Seville.

In Greece, firefighters continued to fight a fire that broke out on Friday morning, prompting the preventive evacuation of seven villages in a rural area of ​​the prefecture of Rethymno, on the island of Crete.

Further north in Europe, in the UK, the national weather agency has issued the first-ever red alert for extreme heat, warning of a risk to life. The Met Office said temperatures in southern England could top 40 degrees for the first time on Monday or Tuesday.

Elsewhere in the world, extreme temperatures have also caused forest fires, particularly in northern Morocco where one person died. Half of the approximately 4,660 hectares affected went up in smoke.

In the UK it is expected to a record heat wave.

Western Canada is also affected, since Thursday a fire has ravaged the Lytton region, northeast of Vancouver, already devastated last year by a historic heat wave. The fire burned 1500 hectares of forest and brush, destroying several houses and causing evacuations.

This heat wave is the second in barely a month in Europe. The multiplication of these phenomena is a direct consequence of global warming, according to scientists, with greenhouse gas emissions increasing in intensity, duration and frequency.

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