French President Emmanuel Macron said authorities will do everything they can to mobilize resources. Meanwhile, a public prosecutor in Bordeaux suspects a “criminal” origin for at least one of the fires near the city. (Related: Suspected arsonists arrested for setting rural fires in Washington state amid blazing wildfires.)
The fire that engulfed swathes of Europe is the second in a matter of weeks.
Firefighter pilot dies in Portugal
Some of the worst fires happened in Portugal, where the pilot of a firefighting plane died when his plane crashed while on an operation in the northeast. The plane was battling forest fires in the Braganca region, near Vila Nova de Foz Coa in northern Portugal.
Five regions in the center and northern parts of Portugal hit July record temperatures of 47 C in the town of Pinhao. These regions were put on red alert on July 15 as more than 2,000 firefighters tackled four major blazes.
Wildfires have destroyed over 75,000 acres of land this year, the largest since the summer of 2017 when around a hundred people died.
18,200 acres burn in Spain
Spain struggled to contain several fires, including two that burned 18,200 acres. In southern Andalusia, 3,000 people were evacuated from their villages following a blaze that started near the village of Mijas in the province of Malaga.
Temperature in Spain was at 37 C on July 14 when a fire broke out near the Monfrague National Park – a protected area known for wildlife in the Extremadura region.
Spanish authorities reported close to 20 fires still raging out of control in the deep south, inland from the regional capital of Malaga, forcing some 2,300 people to evacuate their homes.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Twitter that he was “closely following the evolution of active fires,” which are posing an extreme risk. Temperatures reached as high as 45.4 C in Spain on July 14, just shy of the all-time high of 47.4 C registered in August last year.
Temperature-related deaths have also surged in Spain amid a heatwave that kept temperatures above 40 C in many areas.
According to the Carlos III Institute, which records temperature-related fatalities daily, there had been 237 deaths attributed to high temperatures between July 10 to 14 – a significant jump from 25 the previous week.
“Post-apocalyptic” fires in France
Southern France experienced temperatures upwards of 40 C on July 15. One fire was seen raging in pine forests near France’s Dune du Pilat, Europe’s tallest dune and a tourist destination.
“I’ve never seen this before and you get the feeling that it’s post-apocalyptic,” a resident said before the preventative evacuation order was released at Cazaux village near the area.
David Brunner, one of 1,500 firefighters battling to control the Gironde blaze that has destroyed nearly 35,000 acres of pine forest near the Dune, said: “In 30 years of firefighting, I have never seen a fire like this.” (Related: A new map of Earth: Here’s what our planet looks like with the aerosols from wildfires and dust circulating our globe.)
“In some south-western areas it will be a heat apocalypse,” meteorologist Francois Gourand told Agence France-Presse.
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Watch the video below about the wildfires in Europe.
This video is from The Sword and Shield channel on Brighteon.com.
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