Heatwave and blazing wildfires scorch Southern Europe


Deutsche Welle reports: Temperatures are set to soar across Europe on Wednesday, with France, Britain, Portugal and Spain on high alert over wildfires and public health.

Spain’s Health Ministry warned the “intense heat” could affect people’s “vital functions” with heatstroke being a possible consequence. On Twitter, the ministry advised citizens to be on the lookout for the warning signs of heatstroke, such as a rapid heart rate, severe headaches or confusion.

Since Sunday, large parts of the Iberian Peninsula have seen temperatures surpassing 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) as firefighters have battled wildfires across Spain and Portugal.

Around 1,500 firefighters were mobilized to put out three wildfires raging for more than 48 hours in central and northern Portugal over the weekend as the country was hit by a heat wave that prompted the government to declare a “state of contingency.”

Southern France is currently battling a wildfire that has been raging since Tuesday afternoon, ripping through 800 hectares of pine trees near Bordeaux and forcing 150 residents to evacuate their homes, according to the local fire department.

Near the Dune of Pilat — Europe’s tallest sand dune — another fire tore through 180 hectares of old pine trees, authorities said.

Some 6,000 campers near the dune had to be evacuated from campsites overnight as a precautionary measure, fire department official Lieutenant Colonel David Annotel told local news channel BFMTV.

High temperatures are also anticipated for other parts of western and central Europe in the coming days.

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