Forest fires rage in France and Spain amid heatwaves, while Britain faces its hottest day ever

Forest fires rage in France and Spain amid heatwaves, while Britain faces its hottest day ever

The southwestern region of Gironde in France has seen the worst fires so far.

A total of 14,300 hectares (35,000 acres) of land have been burned since Monday, with 24,000 people evacuated from the region, the Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Gironde prefectures said on Twitter.

Authorities have deployed 1,700 firefighters to deal with the fires. A spokesman for the Gironde Regional Fire and Rescue Service said 12 firefighters had sustained minor injuries since the operation began.

In Spain, forest fires engulfed the central region of Castilla y Léon and the northern region of Galicia on Sunday, Reuters reported. Firefighters extinguished the flames in Mijas in the southeastern province of Málaga and said evacuated people could return home.

Inhibiting temperatures in Portugal have exacerbated a drought that started before the heat wave, according to data from the National Meteorological Institute. About 96% of the mainland already suffered from severe or extreme drought at the end of June.

“Peak of intensity”

The violent heat wave in Western Europe is expected to peak early this week.

Monthly minimum temperature records could be broken across France on Monday, according to the National Weather Service. Météo-France identified nine localities where the minimum monthly requirements appear to be broken, including the Rostren in Brittany, northwestern France, where the record has stood since 1968.

In addition to the Gironde, Météo-France issued a red warning of heat waves to a total of 15 departments in western and southwestern regions, as temperatures are expected to reach as high as 42 degrees Celsius (108 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday. A further 51 regions are under orange warning, including Paris, with residents urged to avoid going outside between 1 p.m. 11:00 and 21:00 local time.

“Given the expected intensity peak for today, the chances are small that the mercury will fall sufficiently before the end of the day” that these records will not be broken, Météo-France added.

Since May, France has only seen eight days when average daily temperatures were below aggregate summer average temperatures. For the remaining 39 days, national daily averages have been above average temperatures for this time of year observed between 1991 and 2020, according to data from Météo-France.

Spain’s weather bureau also issued warnings of extreme heat on Sunday, Reuters reported. Temperatures of 42 degrees Celsius (108 degrees Fahrenheit) were forecast for the northern regions of Aragon, Navarre and La Rioja. The agency said the heat wave would end on Monday, but warned that temperatures would remain “abnormally high”.
Nearly half of Europe’s territory, including the United Kingdom, is “at risk of drought”, researchers at the European Commission said on Monday. The joint research center highlighted that the drought in large parts of Europe is “critical” as “the deficit of winter-spring precipitation … was exacerbated by early heat waves in May and June.”

The water supply may be “compromised” in the coming months, according to the report.

“The wisest day in the history of Britain”

The head of the UK Met Office said the country could experience it
Elsewhere in Europe, Britain is preparing for the “hottest day in Britain’s history”, according to a senior weather officer. On Friday, the Met Office issued its first ever red warning for “extreme heat” over high temperatures.

The Met Office’s CEO, Penelope Endersby, said Monday may well be the “hottest day in UK history”, but Tuesday is “expected to be even hotter”.

“So it’s tomorrow we really see a greater chance of 40 degrees and temperatures above that,” Endersby told BBC Radio on Monday.

“Even possibly over it, 41 are not of the cards. We even have some 43s in the model, but we hope it will not be as high as that.”

Endersby said that although extreme temperatures are not expected beyond Tuesday, the Met Office will monitor the possibility of drought in the coming months.

“We expect a large temperature drop on Wednesday night – down 10 or 12 degrees compared to what has been the days before,” she said, adding: “Our attention, when we are past these two days, turns to drought and when we can see some rain and we do not see any significant rain coming. “

Joseph Ataman, Jimmy Hutcheon and Xiaofei Xu reported from Paris. Zahid Mahmood and Sana Noor Haq reported from London. CNN’s Renee Bertini, James Frater and Sharon Braithwaite contributed reporting to this post.

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