Spain devastated by wildfires amid record-breaking heatwave

Placeholder when loading item promotions

Wildfires in Spain have destroyed thousands of hectares of land and forced hundreds of residents to flee their homes amid a grueling heatwave across Europe.

Some of the fires continue to burn, and firefighters are working to put out the blazes that have devastated more than 74,000 acres. On Friday the World Meteorological Organization warned that all of Spain is at “extreme risk of fire” due to the heat and drought.

The early heatwave broke some records in Spain, with Valencia Airport setting a record high in June on Friday with a temperature of 102 degrees Fahrenheit (39 degrees Celsius), surpassing 2017 records. Temperatures rose in Madrid until about 105 Degrees Fahrenheit (40.5 degrees Celsius) in what the State Meteorological Agency said was the earliest major heatwave in more than four decades.

“Unfortunately, what we are witnessing today is a foretaste of the future,” Clare Nullis, a spokeswoman for the World Meteorological Organization, told the Independent over the weekend as she warned that early heatwaves were being driven by climate change.

Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, funded by the German government, called on Twitter the scenes in Europe “the new normal” and warned that extreme weather would only get worse unless global emissions were reduced.

What you need to know about the spread of forest fires

The Sierra de la Culebra, a mountain range in Castile and León in northwestern Spain, was one of the most devastated areas with a workers’ association vocation The wildfire “a real monster” as it created a towering wall of orange along what was once a lush green landscape.

Some calm came on Sunday as temperatures dropped. On Monday, emergency planes dropped water on rural land in the west of the country to prevent the flames from flaring up again, while wildfires in areas such as Navarra and Catalonia continued to burn, Reuters news agency reported.

Fires burn in southern Europe after floods in Germany as rain soaks London

Hundreds of firefighters have been working in several regions, including Zamora in the northwest and Valencia in the southeast, to put out the blazes.

Officials in Catalonia in the north-east said over the weekend emergency services were struggling to contain more than 30 fires, the Guardian reported.

The heatwave also hit France, and in the UK an alert was issued by the Health Security Agency as the country recorded its hottest day of the year. Temperatures in London topped 89 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) because experts said it was a gust of hot air from North Africa.

In Germany, more than a dozen towns near Berlin were evacuated over the weekend as a precaution against an approaching wildfire, Deutsche Welle reported.

“The hottest time of year is typically between mid-July and mid-August,” weather forecaster Tim Staeger told the outlet. “If we are looking at these temperatures now, there will likely be more or even hotter days like this later this year.”

Heatwave breaks records in France, kills young birds in Spain

Sammy Westfall contributed to this report.