Thousands of people are forced to flee their homes as wildfires spread across heatwave-hit Europe | World News

Thousands of people have been forced to evacuate their homes as wildfires continue to burn across Spain and France caused by an ongoing heat wave.

Two people died in the fires in Spain and the country’s prime minister linked the deaths to global warmingsaying: “Climate change kills”.

That number comes on top of the hundreds of heat-related deaths reported on the Iberian Peninsula, as high temperatures have gripped the continent and sparked wildfires from Portugal to the Balkan region.

Some areas, including northern Italy, are also experiencing prolonged drought.

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In France, heat records were broken and hot swirling winds complicated firefighting efforts in the southwest of the country.

“The fire is literally exploding,” said Marc Vermeulen, regional fire service chief, who described how tree trunks were breaking as the flames consumed them, sending smoldering embers into the air and spreading the flames further.

“We are facing extreme and exceptional circumstances,” he said.

Authorities evacuated more towns and moved another 14,900 people from areas at risk of being in the path of the fires.

In total, more than 31,000 people have been forced from their homes and summer resorts in the Gironde region since the wildfires began on July 12.

Firefighters work to contain a tactical fire in Louchats, as forest fires continue to spread in the Gironde region of southwestern France.
Image:
Firefighters work to contain a tactical fire in Louchats, as forest fires continue to spread in the Gironde region of southwestern France.

Three additional planes were sent to join six others already battling the fires, scooping up seawater in their tanks and making repeated runs through thick clouds of smoke.

More than 200 reinforcements joined the force of 1,500 firefighters who are fighting day and night to contain the flames in the Gironde.

Meanwhile, Spain reported a second death in two days while battling its own fires.

The body of a 69-year-old sheep farmer was found Monday in the same mountainous area where a 62-year-old firefighter died a day earlier when he was trapped by flames in the northwestern province of Zamora.

More than 30 forest fires across Spain have forced the evacuation of thousands of people and blackened 85 square miles (220 square kilometers) of forest and bushland.

Passengers on a train through Zamora saw a terrifying fire up close as their train stopped in the countryside.

Video showed a dozen alarmed passengers staring out windows at flames engulfing both sides of the track.

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Train surrounded by fires in Spain

Nearly 600 heat-related deaths have been reported in Spain and neighboring Portugal, where temperatures reached 47°C (117°F) earlier this month.

The heat wave in Spain is forecast to ease on Tuesday, but the respite will be short as temperatures rise again on Wednesday, especially in the dry western region of Extremadura.

Read more:
Roads are closed, ‘scary’ fires break out and drought sets in as temperatures in Portugal soar
Heat wave in pictures: wildfires across Europe, droughts and ice outbursts

The Balkan region is expected to get the worst of the heat later this week, but has already seen sporadic wildfires.

Earlier Monday, Slovenian authorities said firefighters managed to bring a blaze under control.

How to stay safe in the heat – official advice

Protect yourself from the sun between 11 am and 3 pm and avoid physical exertion

Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol.

Close the curtains in rooms facing the sun.

Never leave anyone in a parked car, and keep an eye on elderly and vulnerable neighbors

Walk in the shade, apply sunscreen, and wear a wide-brimmed hat

Check that medications can be stored according to instructions, and check that your refrigerators, freezers, and fans are working properly.

Watch the Daily Climate Show at 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and The Climate Show with Tom Heap on Saturday and Sunday at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

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The show investigates how global warming is changing our landscape and highlights solutions to the crisis.

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