France continues to fight fires amid record heat wave, and Europe comes to its aid

France continues to fight fires amid record heat wave, and Europe comes to its aid

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A number of firefighters from European countries arrived in France on Thursday to help control the fires that swept large areas in the southwest of the country. At a time when efforts to combat huge forest fires continue in separate areas of Western European countries. Heat waves, floods and thaws have heightened concerns about climate change and the rising frequency of extreme weather around the world.

Under the persistence Forest fires and record temperature riseA number of European countries have decided to send firefighting teams to France, as efforts are continuing to put out new fires in forests hit by drought due to severe heat waves and an unprecedented decline in rain.

For the third day in a row, a massive forest fire rages near Bordeaux, the heartland of the wine industry, with high temperatures unlikely to ease before the beginning of next week.

More than 1,000 firefighters, backed by water jets, tried to contain a fire that forced thousands from their homes and scorched thousands of hectares of forest in the Gironde region of southwestern France.

With a combination of dangerous factors including sweltering temperatures, dry conditions and winds fanning the flames, emergency services are struggling to get the fire under control.

“It’s an ogre, it’s a monster,” Gregory Allion, a French fire official, told RTL radio, describing the fire.

For his part, the head of the European Space Agency, Josef Schbacher, indicated that the increase in global temperatures and the receding of rivers, according to measurements made from space, leave no room for doubt that climate change negatively affects agriculture and other industries.

A group of European Space Agency satellites have measured “maximum” temperatures on the Earth’s surface, exceeding 45 degrees Celsius in Britain, 50 degrees in France and 60 in Spain over the past few weeks.

“It’s very bad,” Schbacher told Reuters. “We’ve seen extreme (weather conditions) that we haven’t seen before.”

In Romania, where high temperatures and drought have reduced river levels, Greenpeace activists protested on the banks of the Danube to draw attention to global warming and urged the government to cut emissions.

The effects of climate change

With the successive heatwaves that swept Europe this summer, scorching temperatures and unprecedented droughts, the focus has returned to the risks of climate change to agriculture, industry and livelihoods.

Severe drought is expected to reduce the European Union’s corn harvest by 15 percent, to its lowest level in 15 years, at a time when Europeans face rising food prices.

As a result of lower grain exports from Russia and Ukraine than the normal rate.

Switzerland has sent military helicopters to airlift water to thirsty cows, pigs and goats suffering under the scorching sun on the country’s alpine meadows.

In France, which is suffering its most severe drought ever, trucks are bringing water to dozens of villages where the taps have dried up, and farmers are warning that a lack of fodder could lead to a shortage of milk.

In Germany, the lack of rain this summer reduced the water level in the Rhine River, the country’s trade artery, impeding shipping and increasing its costs.

A village emptied of its inhabitants

The British Met Office issued a four-day “severe heat” warning Thursday for parts of England and Wales.

In Portugal, more than 1,500 firefighters spent a sixth day battling a forest fire in the central Covilha region that ravaged 10,500 hectares, including parts of the Serra da Estrela National Park.

In Spain, thunderstorms sparked new forest fires and hundreds of people were evacuated from the path of a fire in the province of Cáceres.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said more firefighting planes were arriving from Greece and Sweden, while Germany, Austria, Romania and Poland were deploying firefighting teams to help tackle forest fires in France.

Firefighters said they were able to rescue the village of Bulan Pele, which was emptied of its residents after police told them to evacuate their homes as the flames approached. But the fire reached the outskirts of the village, leaving behind charred houses and idle tractors.

The Gironde region was also hit by large forest fires in July.

“The area is completely deformed. We are devastated. We are exhausted…These fires are the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Mayor Jean-Louis Dartael told Radio Classic.

FRANCE 24/Reuters

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