Fires in France and Italy: carpet of flames in southern Europe continues to spread

The all-clear is only given in a few regions, otherwise the fire continues to burn in parts of southern Europe.

Fires in France and Italy: carpet of flames in southern Europe continues to spread

The all-clear is only given in a few regions, otherwise the fire continues to burn in parts of southern Europe. In Tuscany, rescue workers have to bring residents to safety from the fire. Arson is now suspected to be the cause of fires in Bordeaux - one suspect is arrested.

Millions of people in Europe continue to suffer from extreme heat and forest fires: Great Britain reported more than 40 degrees Celsius for the first time, and Belgium and the Netherlands also expected new heat records. Temperatures fell slightly in Spain and Portugal as well as in south-west France. However, other violent forest fires raged there, as well as in Italy and Greece. At least one of the fires there appears to have been caused by arson.

After heat records in 64 communities in western France the day before, people on the Atlantic coast were able to breathe a sigh of relief. In view of falling temperatures, the weather service lifted the highest heat warning level for 15 departments. But he warned of temperatures of up to 40 degrees in the east of the country.

There was no all-clear for two major fires in the Gironde department that have been raging near Bordeaux for days. There alone, 19,000 hectares of forest have been destroyed so far, around 37,000 residents and holidaymakers had to be brought to safety as a precaution, including 16,000 on Monday alone. Bordeaux prosecutors are now largely certain that one of the two fires was set - a suspect has been arrested.

The Italian fire brigade brought several residents to safety because of a large forest fire in Tuscany. The fire broke out on Monday evening in the municipality of Massarosa north of Pisa, according to the fire brigade. According to the Tuscan Civil Protection, winds from the north-east drove the flames further overnight, so that they also threatened residential buildings. Around 30 people were evacuated from them.

In the meantime, the authorities have repeatedly blocked a traffic bridge that connects Lucca and Viareggio. Three helicopters and two firefighting aircraft support the twelve firefighting units on the ground. In addition, the operation continued with extinguishing work from the air and dozens of firefighters on the ground. Pictures on social media showed flames near houses and a traffic tunnel. The Tuscan regional president Eugenio Giani spoke of a "terrible fire". About 80 hectares are affected by the flames.

Because of a large forest fire on the Italian-Slovenian border, the authorities in Italy closed a section of the motorway and interrupted a train connection. According to the civil defense in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, the fire broke out near Monfalcone, an Adriatic town north of Trieste. Firefighters fought the flames from the air and on the ground. The Ansa news agency reported that five officials were evacuated at a toll booth on the affected highway as the flames approached.

In South Tyrol, the emergency services near Bozen fought, among other things, with a fire-fighting helicopter against a forest fire in the hiking area on the Guntschna Promenade. In the afternoon, the fire department reported that the fire had been brought under control. Some residents had left their homes out of caution, Ansa reported.

Thousands of firefighters also continued to fight several forest fires in Spain and Portugal. In Portugal, an elderly couple died trying to flee the flames that were creeping closer to their home. The couple, aged around 70, got off the road in their car, the mayor of the small town of Murça in northern Portugal, Mario Artur Lopes, reported on television on Monday evening. The car and its occupants burned out completely. After a slight decrease in the extreme heat in Portugal, temperatures are also likely to rise again on Wednesday.

Strong winds in the evening sparked a small fire in north-east Athens into a major fire. Thick, brownish plumes of smoke could be seen from almost every region of Athens. The situation is "serious," said the regional governor, Giorgos Patoulis, on state radio. The inhabitants of the affected regions received a text message to be ready to leave their homes if the fire brigade so ordered. A village had already been evacuated because the flames were threateningly approaching, state television reported.

In the summer of 2021, huge fires broke out in the region below Mount Penteli in northeast Athens, destroying large parts of forest and bush land. "Eleven fire-fighting aircraft and six helicopters" are in use, said a spokesman for the fire brigade on state radio. In addition to Greek emergency services, firefighters from Romania are also on duty, it said.

Meanwhile, for the first time in British history, temperatures exceeded 40 degrees. According to the weather agency, 40.2 degrees were measured at London's Heathrow Airport. The UK has been suffering from unusual heat since Monday. For the first time, the highest warning level applies to large parts of England, and the second highest level has been declared for Wales and parts of Scotland.

According to Transport Minister Grant Schapps, public transport is also not designed for such heat. The British rail network operator reported the highest temperature ever measured on a rail: 62 degrees. The Netherlands also expected to break the heat record of 35.4 degrees set just the day before. The Belgian authorities issued the highest heat warning given the expected temperatures of at least 40 degrees. State museums offered free entry to those over 65 to cool off.

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