Europe’s wildfire threat is spreading to the French Riviera, while firefighters in Greece have either extinguished or contained more than 100 blazes.
(Bloomberg) — Europe’s wildfire threat is spreading to the French Riviera, while firefighters in Greece have either extinguished or contained more than 100 blazes.
A high risk zone in southern France will encompass large portions of the coast and inland areas between Marseilles and Nice from Sunday, according to the European Forest Fire Information System. Parts of Italy and Spain are also threatened, with rising temperatures forecast for the Iberian peninsula in the next week.
Strong winds are hampering efforts to contain wildfires burning across the Mediterranean from Algeria to Turkey. The world is on track for its hottest ever month in July, and scientists say the extreme heat seen across the Northern Hemisphere from the US to China would have been “virtually impossible” without climate change. Efforts to curb the use of fossil fuels fall well short of what’s required to address a rapidly warming planet.
“Climate change is here, it is terrifying, and it is just the beginning,” United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday. “The era of global warming has ended, the era of global boiling has arrived.”
In Greece, more than 130 people were evacuated by three coastguard vessels and 15 private craft from Nea Anchialos after a fire in the area reached an ammunition dump near an airforce base, triggering a series of explosions.
The situation in Rhodes, where thousands of tourists were evacuated last weekend, has improved with all blazes now under control. However, the government estimated that about 50,000 olive trees and 2,500 livestock were destroyed by the fires.
Moreover, parts of six regions across the country, including Greater Athens, will remain on high wildfire alert on Saturday, even as temperatures drop. The blazes in Greece are now breaking out at altitudes above 1,000 meters (3,280 feet), which was previously rare.
Cooler weather is continuing over northern Europe, with temperatures in Germany, France and Nordic countries below seasonal averages. London will peak at 19C on Sunday, almost 4C below the norm, according to forecaster Maxar Technologies Inc. This trend is set to continue for large parts of Europe for the coming 10 days.
(Updates with fire situation improving in Greece from first paragraph)
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