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Europe: Wildfires rage across the country: Heatwave intensifies drought conditions

Wildfires are raging across Europe, where a heatwave has intensified drought conditions. Though temperatures have cooled in France and the UK, firefighters are still tackling blazes in Greece, Spain and Italy.

The fires in France’s badly hit south-west have started to be brought under control. And as the heatwave moves north-east, low water levels are hampering transport on rivers in Germany. Over 1,000 deaths have been linked to the extremely high temperatures in Portugal while in Spain it is over 500.

France witnessed some of the worst fires, particularly in the southwest region of Gironde, though conditions for tackling them have improved. Temperatures fell from 40 degree Celsius on Tuesday to the mid-20s yesterday.

Visiting fire crews in Gironde, French President Emmanuel Macron said, the shift in climate, which is leading to more wildfires, would force the European Union to take structural decisions.

In Greece, firefighters were tackling a blaze on Mount Penteli, to the north-east of the capital Athens. Hundreds of people have been evacuated from surrounding areas, including eastern Gerakas, which is home to nearly 30,000 people.

Spain has also been battling multiple wildfires. Two large wildfires are still out of control in the north-western region of Galicia. In Portugal, some 900 firefighters were fighting two active fires in the country’s far north. Major fires have also affected Italy in the past days, causing the country to be put on its highest heatwave alert for today. Italian media reported that country’s infrastructure has also been heavily impacted, with temporary closure of a key rail route between Rome and Florence.

As the heatwave moves north-eastwards, parts of Germany have recorded 38 degree Celsius yesterday while Sweden recorded its hottest day of the year, with temperatures in the south-west reaching 32 degree Celsius.

 

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