To: 07/19/2022 21:44
Extreme temperatures have killed more than 1,000 people in Portugal. The situation is also dramatic in other countries of southern and western Europe. Several houses and fields have burned in fires in and around London.
In Portugal, the heat has so far claimed more than 1,000 lives. As of July 18, 1,063 people had died from the current heatwave, health authority chief Graca Freitas said. Portugal is one of the regions of the world that is likely to be more affected by extreme heat than others. The country must prepare better for phases with higher temperatures in the future.
The temperature in Portugal reached over 40 degrees Celsius last week. On Tuesday, large parts of Europe were under a sweltering heatwave, with peak values that had never been reached before.
The scorching heat has also sparked devastating wildfires in Portugal as well as the neighboring country Spain sets off. In Spain alone, at least 60,000 hectares of forest have been devastated by fires since last week, which corresponds to around 80% of the area of Hamburg. “In terms of fire, this is the worst emergency ever recorded,” civil defense director Leonardo Marcos told Cadena Ser radio.
The situation was particularly bad in Zamora, near the border with Portugal, and in Ávila, northwest of Madrid. In these two provinces, a total of around 10,000 people from around 50 municipalities have had to be sheltered from the flames since Sunday. In Zamora alone, two fires have already razed 30,000 hectares of forest. There have already been two dead and at least 15 injured.
Three larger forest fires are still active in Portugal, which are being fought by nearly 800 emergency services. Several people died in fires or heatstroke. According to the government, some of the fires are also due to negligence and arson. More than 50 people were arrested in mid-July this year on suspicion of being responsible for fires in the forest, Interior Minister José Luis Carneiro told a parliamentary inquiry commission.
Record temperatures in the UK
In Britain were in the current heat wave measured locally at over 40 degrees for the first time. By midday it was 40.2 degrees at London Heathrow and 40.3 degrees Celsius at Coningsby in eastern England. The British Meteorological Service announced that 39.1 degrees had already been reached in Charlwood near London in the morning. So far, the record there was 38.7 degrees, which was reached in 2019.
Due to the extreme temperatures, rail traffic has been paralyzed in some parts of the country. As road network operator Network Rail announced, operations on major rail lines along the English east coast and in the Midlands have come to a complete halt. People were asked to change their travel plans.
Fires in Greater London and record heat in Britain
Tagesschau 8 p.m., 19.7.2022
Fire in London
Several houses and fields have been destroyed in a major fire in east London. About 100 firefighters battled blazes in the small town of Wellington, London Firefighters reported on Twitter. Grass fires were reported in other suburbs.
In view of several fires in and around London, the fire brigade had declared the accident major. All missions could still have been covered, he said. However, declaring the level of urgency helps to use more forces and focus better. Firefighters asked that only emergencies be called and that no campfires or grills be used and cigarettes be disposed of safely. London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted that firefighters were under immense pressure.
Disruptions also at airports
The extreme heat has already caused major disruption at Luton Airport in London. The airport said the runway surface had been damaged by the high temperatures. According to reports, several flights had to be canceled or diverted.
Air pollution in France
In France The sun and heat caused air pollution, so authorities ordered traffic restrictions. In the Grand Est region, in the east of the country, drivers must reduce their speed by 20 km/h on motorways and expressways.
Previously, the highest temperatures since the start of the measurements had been recorded in several places in France. In Brest, on the Atlantic coast of Brittany, the temperature rose to 39.3 degrees Celsius, exceeding the previous heat record by more than four degrees. 40.3 degrees were measured in Nantes, where the previous record of 40.3 degrees dated back to 1949.
The heat wave is moving east
In the second forest fire in La Teste-de-Buch near Arcachon, authorities believe the blaze was started by a delivery truck which caught fire. A nursing home had to be evacuated.
The heat wave in France should now ease somewhat in the west of the country. The Météo-France meteorological service has lifted the highest heat warning level for 15 departments on the Atlantic coast. However, the second highest alert level still applies to 73 of France’s 101 departments. In the east of the country, it should be up to 40 degrees.
Fighting forest fires in South West Europe
Sabine Rau, ARD Paris, daily news at 8 p.m., July 19, 2022
Houses evacuated in Tuscany due to forest fire
In Italy firefighters are on alert and fighting against forest and bush fires throughout the territory. Civil Protection in Sicily has declared the highest level of risk for forest fires in certain areas. Due to a major forest fire on the Italian-Slovenian border, the Italian authorities closed a section of the highway and interrupted a rail link. According to the civil protection of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, the fire broke out on Tuesday near Monfalcone, an Adriatic municipality north of Trieste. Firefighters battled the flames from the air and on the ground.
In South Tyrol, the emergency services near Bozen fought, among other things, with a firefighting helicopter against a forest fire in the hiking area of the Guntschnapromenade. In the afternoon, firefighters reported that the fire had been brought under control. Ansa reported that some residents had left their homes out of caution.
In Tuscany, Italian firefighters have brought several residents to safety because of a major forest fire. The fire broke out in the town of Massarosa north of Pisa, according to firefighters. According to the Tuscan civil protection, northeast winds pushed the flames further, so that they also threatened houses. Thirty people were evacuated. In the meantime, the authorities have repeatedly blocked a road bridge that connects Lucca and Viareggio.
Crete: Thousands of olive trees destroyed
In Crete, severe fires have destroyed large tracts of farmland south of the port city of Rethymno. This was told by the region’s mayor, Giannis Tatarakis, to the Greek news channel “Real FM”. So far there are more than 1850 hectares. “These are mainly olive trees. The risk of fire remains throughout the south due to drought and high winds Greece very high, warned civil protection.
In the northeast of the capital Athens, high winds had fanned a small blaze into a major blaze. The situation is “serious”, regional governor Giorgos Patoulis told the radio. The civil defense ordered the evacuation of nine villages.
Nevertheless, temperatures in Greece are currently relatively pleasant, around 30 degrees. It’s not supposed to get warmer until the end of the week, but only for a short time. The heat in western Europe is unlikely to penetrate that far east in full force, a meteorologist told state radio.
Record heat poses challenge to Britain
Mareike Aden, ARD London, 19.7.2022 11:57