2,500 people evacuated after a wildfire in La Palma

The fire started in a wooded area in the north of the Spanish island. Due to the severe drought and strong winds, the fire spread rapidly, Mayor Vicente Rodriguez said on public broadcaster RTVE.

Canary Islands President Fernando Clavijo later stated that “the fire is spreading very quickly”. According to him, 4,500 hectares have already caught fire. He noted a combination of circumstances: “The wind, the climate, the heat wave we’re experiencing, all these elements come together in the forest.” The fire is not under control because the wind is constantly changing direction. About 300 firefighters have been deployed to fight the fire.

Southern Europe suffers from extreme heat and extreme drought, which are ideal conditions for wildfires. In Greece and Italy, the government is already warning about it. In Croatia, firefighters had to go out on Friday to contain a large wildfire.

It is also very hot in parts of France. Interior Minister Gérard Darmanin wrote on Twitter that a 19-year-old volunteer with the fire brigade died on Saturday while putting out a wildfire.

Acropolis is closed

Greek authorities are advising citizens to drink plenty of water, seek shade and, for example, not to run. People in strenuous occupations are not allowed to work between 12 noon and 5 pm. The Acropolis, the country’s biggest tourist attraction, remains closed today for the third consecutive day between 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. local time.

July 14, 2023, Greece, Athens: Tourists enjoy the coolness of a water fountain as they visit the Parthenon Temple on the Acropolis Hill on this hot day. The Ministry of Culture decided to close the archaeological site during the hottest hours of the day, from noon to 5 pm, as Greece is currently experiencing a heat wave. Photo: Angelos Tzortzinis/dpa (Photo by Angelos Tzortzinis/picture alliance via Getty Images)Image Getty Images

According to the ‘Rai News’ news channel, the Italian government will give the red code to fourteen cities on Saturday, which is the highest risk level for the entire population, not just the vulnerable groups. The heat is likely to continue for several days, with the new heat wave peaking on Tuesday. It will cool down a bit from Thursday, but until then, the maximum temperature is still expected to be around 35 degrees.

The Italian Air Force, which is responsible for meteorological forecasts to boot, is reporting temperatures above 38 degrees from Saturday in regions such as Sardinia, Sicily, Calabria and Puglia, with peaks above 40 degrees. These peaks are expected mainly on Sunday, with 43 degrees in Rome and 48 degrees in Sardinia. The weekend will be “very warm” in many cities in the center and south of the country.

European temperature record

It was also hot in countries around the Mediterranean on Friday. Many people have become unwell in Greece and Italy. Near Milan, someone who was working outside succumbed to the heat. Spain also experiences very high temperatures.

The European Space Agency (ESA) is taking into account that the European temperature record of 48.8 degrees may be broken in the coming days. According to scientists, the onset of the natural El Niño phenomenon, amplified by climate change, could set world records.

Very high temperatures are also expected elsewhere in Europe (eg Spain, Poland and eastern France) and the world (including China and the southern United States).

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Denton Watson

"Friend of animals everywhere. Evil twitter fan. Pop culture evangelist. Introvert."

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