Western Europe Thursday was struggling to deal with the fallout from extreme heat and drought, With wildfires causing evacuations in France and Italian farmers losing up to 80% of their crop due to severe drought.
The French government announced that firefighting planes from Greece and Sweden will arrive in France on Thursday, while other European Union governments including Germany, Poland, Austria and Romania are mobilizing resources to help France fight raging forest fires.
“Today we are making full use of European solidarity,” Bourne told reporters during a visit to the town of Houston, in the heart of the fires in the Gironde region in southwest France. More than half of this year’s fires have occurred in the Gironde.
A total of four planes from Greece and Sweden are expected to arrive in France today, as well as a team of 64 people and 24 vehicles from Germany, according to the Elysee Palace.
The Gironde fires have burned more than 6,800 hectares of forest, and nearly 1,100 firefighters are on the way. As of Thursday morning, 10,000 people had been evacuated from the area, according to the regional authority.
“Conditions are particularly tough: the plants and soil are particularly drying up after more than a month without rain. According to the statement, the scorching temperatures (40°C today) (104°F) are expected to continue into Saturday and combine with the very dry air to create Extremely dangerous conditions of fire.
Forest fires in France have been particularly violent this summer, raging in the south and southwestern part of the country while also popping up in the Normandy and Brittany regions – further north than usual.
The press office of the French Interior Ministry’s Civil Security Department told CNN that fires have burned 41,400 hectares in France since June 10, a significant increase compared to the 2,040 hectares lost in the same period last year.
Farmers in some parts of the country have lost up to 80% of their crop this year due to harsh weather fluctuations, the Coldiretti Agriculture Association said Thursday, in Italy.
According to Coldiretti, the drought means the soil hasn’t been able to absorb any rainfall in recent storms, resulting in floods and landslides.
The association said that Hail was “the most dangerous climatic event due to the irreversible damage to crops,” adding that “within a few minutes, it could destroy an entire year’s business.”
The Peasants’ Association estimates the damage to exceed 6 billion euros ($6.2 billion), equivalent to 10% of Italy’s annual agricultural production.
Elsewhere in the Mediterranean, Spain’s meteorological agency AEMET has warned of rising temperatures across Spain as the heatwave continues on the peninsula.
Heat warnings were issued in various parts of the country on Thursday, with the largest concentration of affected communities in Spain’s northeastern regions near the border with France.
Temperatures are expected to rise as high as 40 degrees Celsius, according to AEMET.
Heat warnings cover most of the country on Friday and maximum temperatures are expected to exceed 40 degrees Celsius in northeastern and southern Spain.
The UK is also experiencing another week of high temperatures, with the Met Office issuing an “Amber Severe Heat Warning” on Tuesday.
The Met Office said: “The Severe Heat Warning, which covers most of the southern half of England as well as parts of East Wales, will be in effect from Thursday until the end of Sunday with potential impacts on health, transport and infrastructure.” in the current situation.
Temperatures are expected to peak on Friday and Saturday and are “likely” to reach 30 degrees Celsius (86 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the statement.
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