TE24 International Desk:
LEIRIA – Thousands of firefighters are battling more than 20 fires that hit Portugal and western Spain on Wednesday (July 13th) in a heat wave that pushed temperatures above 45 C in parts of Europe. Threatens the village and disrupts tourist vacations.
In France, hundreds of firefighters backed by six water bombers fought two wildfires in the southwest, evacuating thousands of campers, Girondor Fabian Bucho said.
In Santiago de Garda, in the Leiria district of central Portugal, Albertina Francisco held back her tears as black smoke billowed from a small village.
“It was very difficult,” said Francisco, 42, who was helping to remove his ailing sister. “No one helped – firefighters and [water bombers] just arrived here … the state needs more to help us.”
Some villagers rescue pets. , Others helped firefighters fight the fire. In Leiria, which has burned more than 3,000 hectares so far, strong winds have made it difficult for firefighters to fight the blaze, and authorities have blocked major highways and sidewalks.
The Portuguese arterial road connecting the capital Lisbon and Porto was blocked further north by fire.
Across mainland Portugal, the site had 2,841 firefighters and 860 vehicles, with about 900 firefighters working on three active fires in Leiria alone.
In the southern Algarve region, popular with Portuguese tourists, fires broke out in the town of Faro and in the luxury resort of Quinta do Lago. A video shared online shows a fire near the villa, burning palm trees and parts of a golf course.
According to the Instituto Portuguese Agency, about half of Portugal, which is in the grip of drought, will be alert to the heat on Thursday, with high temperatures expected in the districts of Santaren and Castello Blanco.
The highest temperature recorded on Wednesday was 46.3C in the central city of Lausanne, one degree lower than the record set in 2003.
“I’m scared when the fire comes,” said the 62-year-old. “When it comes home, it’s a shame … you lost everything.” At least 135 people have been initially lightly injured since the fires broke out in Portugal last week, according to the Civil Protection Agency. 800 people have been evacuated from their homes.
The camp sites have been evacuated
In the Gironde region of France, more than 2,700 hectares have been burned so far, Prime Minister Bucho told BFMTV. The largest of the two fires spread around the town of Randilla, south of Bordeaux. Roads were closed and 500 residents were evacuated.
The other is on the Atlantic coast, near the famous “Dune du Pyra” (Europe’s highest sand dune) in the Arctic Gulf, over which heavy clouds of black smoke rose in the sky.
The fire actively evacuated 6,000 people from five nearby campsites. They were taken to a local exhibition hall for housing.
“Another camper woke us up around 4:30am. We have to go now and decide what to bring,” said one evacuated tourist. A Crystal told BFMTV.
On the eve of Bastille Day, the Gironde province has banned all fireworks in towns and villages surrounding the forest until Monday.
The World Meteorological Organization warned on Tuesday that the heat wave would spread and intensify across much of Europe.
According to a February 2022 UN report, the number of extreme wildfires is expected to increase by 30% over the next 28 years as anthropogenic climate change causes drought.
Scorching temperatures also hit China’s vast Yangtze River basin on Wednesday. Firefighters brought the fire under control near Dhaka, the tourist center of Turkey. Demand for electricity in Texas reached record highs as customers turned on air conditioners to beat the heat.
In Spain’s western Extremadura region, bordering Portugal, firefighters battled the Salamanca fire in the Castile and León region, burning more than 4,000 hectares.
Regions of Extremadura, Andalusia and Galicia were on alert for extreme heat, with the Spanish weather service Agenzia Estatal de Meteorologia saying the national maximum temperature in Huelva was 45.6C on Wednesday. I added that.