News Update

Heatwave, winds and drought to blame for wildfires in Spain and Germany

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A heatwave in Europe has firefighters struggling to keep up with wildfires that have damaged tens of thousands of acres of land throughout Spain and Germany. The heat, along with the strong winds and a lack of rainfall, have stoked the unseasonable fires.

Three towns near Berlin issued evacuation notices on Sunday due to the wildfires. Some of the worst damage has been in the Spanish province of Zamora, where more than 70,000 acres have seen substantial fires, according to Spanish authorities.

In Zamora, the fire was initially started by a lightning strike on Wednesday. Firefighters in the region were able to form a perimeter around the blaze in an effort to mitigate further damage which has caused the evacuation of 18 nearby villages. Officials are not currently reporting any deaths attributed to the fires.

Heavy rain in Germany helped to extinguish two of the biggest fires southwest of the nation’s capital. Some people that were evacuated were allowed to return to their homes, while many roads were reopened.

The European Commission’s Copernicus Emergency Management Service said the majority of Spain, France, and Italy are at “extreme” or “very extreme” risk.

Temperatures across western Europe eclipsed 100 degrees Fahrenheit over the weekend. The region generally doesn’t see that type of extreme heat until August. Spain already faced a heat wave this year, registering its hottest May since the start of the century.

Parts of France and Spain are facing temperatures 10 degrees celsius (or roughly 18 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the average for this time of year, according to Clare Nules, a spokesperson for the World Meteorological Organization.

The European Union has put 12 firefighting teams on standby to assist nations as the fires persist. Authorities worry that a shift in the weather could intensify the blaze despite efforts to control it.

SHANNON LONGWORTH:

Wildfires are scorching parts of Spain and Germany. Experts say they’re sparked by an early-season heat wave.

And this could just be the beginning.

In fact, the World Meteorological Organization says heat waves are starting earlier in the year and they’re becoming more frequent. All because of…you guessed it: climate change.

Spain’s enduring its earliest heat wave in 40 years. In the last week, temps have soared above 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

CLARE NULLIS:

“Some parts of Spain and France, temperatures are more than 10 degrees higher, so 10 degrees higher, that’s huge than the average for this time of year.”

SHANNON LONGWORTH:

The most significant damage has been in Zamora–a northwest province. More than 60,000 acres have been burned there.

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A heatwave in Europe has firefighters struggling to keep up with wildfires that have damaged tens of thousands of acres of land throughout Spain and Germany. The heat, along with the strong winds and a lack of rainfall, have stoked the unseasonable fires.

Three towns near Berlin issued evacuation notices on Sunday due to the wildfires. Some of the worst damage has been in the Spanish province of Zamora, where more than 70,000 acres have seen substantial fires, according to Spanish authorities.

In Zamora, the fire was initially started by a lightning strike on Wednesday. Firefighters in the region were able to form a perimeter around the blaze in an effort to mitigate further damage which has caused the evacuation of 18 nearby villages. Officials are not currently reporting any deaths attributed to the fires.

Heavy rain in Germany helped to extinguish two of the biggest fires southwest of the nation’s capital. Some people that were evacuated were allowed to return to their homes, while many roads were reopened.

The European Commission’s Copernicus Emergency Management Service said the majority of Spain, France, and Italy are at “extreme” or “very extreme” risk.

Temperatures across western Europe eclipsed 100 degrees Fahrenheit over the weekend. The region generally doesn’t see that type of extreme heat until August. Spain already faced a heat wave this year, registering its hottest May since the start of the century.

Parts of France and Spain are facing temperatures 10 degrees celsius (or roughly 18 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the average for this time of year, according to Clare Nules, a spokesperson for the World Meteorological Organization.

The European Union has put 12 firefighting teams on standby to assist nations as the fires persist. Authorities worry that a shift in the weather could intensify the blaze despite efforts to control it.

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