Wildfires ravage France and Spain as heat wave sweeps Europe

·1 min read
French firefighters
French firefighters Photo by THIBAUD MORITZ/AFP via Getty Images

Firefighters on Sunday continued to battle blazes across France and Spain as a European heat wave caused a spike in heat-related deaths, The Associated Press reported.

Fires in southwestern France have displaced around 14,000 people, while Spain's National Defense Department said it has deployed "the majority" of its fire-fighting aircraft to combat more than 30 forest fires across the country. In Portugal, the pilot of a firefighting plane died in a crash on Friday.

Major wildfires are also raging in Hungary, Croatia, and Crete.

Even where Europe's not burning, it's still sweltering. Water levels in Italy's Po River have hit a record low, and multiple municipalities in the country's northern Piedmont region are imposing 500-euro fines on anyone caught using water to wash their cars or water their gardens.

Between July 5 and July 9, Spain recorded 25 deaths due to high temperatures. That number soared to 237 for the 5-day period between July 10 and July 14. In Portugal, one person died from the heat every 40 minutes between July 7 and July 13.

The United Kingdom called an emergency cabinet meeting on Friday to discuss the country's first-ever "Extreme Red" temperature warning, with parts of southern England expected to hit 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first time ever this week.

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