Firefighters in southern Europe are reportedly battling wildfires as scorching temperatures continued to move north as the United Kingdom braced itself for what might be its hottest day ever recorded.
Weather predictions suggested that the country’s highest recorded temperature of 38.7°C could soon be left behind as the mercury hits 40°C for the first time on Tuesday. Experts have blamed climate change for these soaring temperatures, and predict frequent extreme weather to follow.
Forecasts expect temperatures to rise over 35°C in the Netherlands, and almost 40°C or higher in Belgium.
The national weather office in France reported many towns and cities witnessed highest-ever temperatures on record on Monday, 18th July.
In the southwest region, firefighters are still struggling to contain two massive fires in sweltering heat that have wreaked widespread destruction in the region for almost a week now.
About 14,000 hectares of pine forest have been destroyed in France near the Dune du Pilat due to the Gironde wildfire. It is the continent’s highest dune and a major tourist hotspot where 1,500 firefighters have already been deployed.
As of Monday, a 9km long and 8km wide area was still burning in the region. Nearly 8,000 people have been evacuated as a precaution against changing winds which may blow thick smoke towards residential areas.
Many departments and cities in the country have been put on the highest state of alert for extreme weather.
According to the researchers at the European Commission, 46% of the EU’s territory has been exposed to warning-level drought.
Wildfires have destroyed thousands of hectares of land in Spain, Portugal, and Greece, resulting in the deaths of many civilians, as well as firemen.
Spanish authorities have reported that about 20 wildfires are still active near southern and northwest areas of Galicia, where the blazes have already destroyed about 4,500 hectares of land. On the other hand, around 12,000-15,000 hectares of land have been ruined already in Portugal, where over 1,000 firefighters are battling nine ongoing blazes.