Heatwave scorches Europe as hundreds evacuated from wildfires

by | Jul 16, 2022 | World

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes as wildfires blistered land in France, Spain and Portugal, with officials issuing health warnings for a new heatwave in the coming days.Temperatures were expected to top 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in parts of Europe as a slow-moving high-pressure area brings scorching air up from North Africa.
Armies of firefighters battled blazes in France, Portugal and Spain, with scientists blaming climate change and predicting more frequent and intense episodes of extreme weather.
In Portugal, five regions in the centre and north – where temperatures hit a July record 47C (117F) on Thursday before dropping back – were on red alert again on Friday as more than 2,000 firefighters tackled four major blazes.
A plane that was battling forest fires in the Braganca region crashed on Friday near Vila Nova de Foz Coa in northern Portugal, killing its pilot, the civil defence said.
Wildfires have destroyed 30,000 hectares (74,000 acres) of land in the country this year, the largest area since about 100 people died in the summer of 2017.
National Republican Guard firefighters put out a forest fire in Portugal [Armando Franca/AP]
Portuguese health minister Marta Temido said on Thursday the health system faced a “particularly worrying” week due to the heatwave and said some hospitals were overwhelmed.
Between July 7 and July 13, Portugal registered 238 excess deaths due to the heatwave, the country’s DGS health authority said.
In neighbouring Spain, where temperatures were as high as 3 …

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