HEATWAVE ENGULFS MUCH OF EUROPE AS WILDFIRES RAGE
BBC - 18 July, 2022
Western France is facing a "heat apocalypse", experts have warned, as extreme temperatures continue to hit much of Europe.
Temperatures could reach record levels in 15 regions of the southwest, with firefighters battling wildfires and thousands forced to evacuate.
Blazes in Spain, Portugal and Greece have forced thousands more to flee.
Record temperatures are also expected in parts of the UK, which has its first ever red extreme heat warning in place.
Wildfires in France in recent days have forced over 24,000 people to flee, with emergency shelters set up for evacuees.
Gironde, a popular tourist region in the southwest, has been hit particularly badly, with firefighters battling to control fires which have destroyed over 14,000 hectares (34,000 acres) of land since last Tuesday.
Jean-Luc Gleyze, president of the Gironde region, told the BBC the fires had continued to grow in La-Teste-de-Buch and Landiras because of the hot and windy weather, making it difficult for firefighters to contain them.
"They have to fight against this fire which is growing and growing, sometimes getting very, very high," he said.
The heatwave has prompted warnings of what one meteorologist described to AFP news agency as "an apocalypse of heat" in some areas of the southwest.
The heatwave has impacted other areas of France too. The city of Brest in north-western Brittany reached 40C (104F), far higher than its usual average for July.
Record-high temperatures were registered across many towns and cities in France, the national weather office said.