As emergency services battle wildfires across Europe, we take a look at the event and the probable causes.
(Al Jazeera) – Once a rare occurrence, extreme fires are now becoming more frequent and lasting longer worldwide.
The destructive blazes are driven at least in part by climate change, which exacerbates their scale and intensity, even in the northern winter months.
With temperatures spiking above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), wildfires are raging across several countries in Europe, prompting mass evacuations.
Here is what you should know:
What has been happening?
- Wildfires are spreading across Europe as the combination of heatwaves and droughts are making it hard to combat the blazes in some regions.
- On Wednesday, emergency services battled wildfires across swathes of southern Europe amid mass evacuations. Temperatures cooled in France and the United Kingdom but firefighters continue battling wildfires in Greece, Spain and Italy.
- On Thursday, the European Forest Fire Information System said 19 countries were in “extreme danger” from the wildfires, while Spain, Portugal and France were at “very extreme danger”.
- In southwestern Slovenia, a severe wildfire was reported on Thursday in Kostanjevica na Krasu, a very dry and windy area.
#EFFIS Fire Danger Forecast for 21 July
🔥Extreme Danger forecasted in areas of:
— Copernicus EMS (@CopernicusEMS) July 21, 2022
What countries are affected?
- Wildfires have been raging in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Turkey, the United Kingdom and France.
- Greece: A wildfire in mountains near Athens, forced hundreds of people to flee; however, authorities said it was later brought under control.
- The wildfire broke out on Tuesday some 27km (16 miles) north of the capital and spread quickly to nearby urban districts, including Penteli and Anthousa.
- Despite taming the fire, some 485 firefighters, 120 fire engines and almost 20 aircraft remained to minimise the risk of flare-ups.
- In the meantime, more fires raged near the city of Megara, some 40km (25 miles) west of Athens and on the island of Salamina, a 15-minute ferry trip from the capital.
- Officials said that since the start of the fire season on May 1, they have recorded nearly 2,500 wildfires.