Dramatic Photos Show Europe on Fire

Dramatic Photos Show Europe on Fire
A firefighter battles a blaze in Zaton, Croatia, on Wednesday, July 13, 2022. (Photo: AP Photo, AP)

Firefighters across southern Europe and northern Africa have been battling intense wildfires this week as areas across the region have experienced record-setting temperature spikes.

Wildfires have cropped up in Spain, Portugal, Greece, France, Turkey, and Morocco over the past week, forcing thousands of people to evacuate and destroying thousands of acres of forest along with homes and buildings. The unusually intense (and early) beginning of the European fire season comes after the continent experienced a hot and very dry spring, and while the region is currently experiencing extreme heatwaves for the second time this summer.

“The [European] heatwave has been made more likely due to climate change,” Mark McCarthy at the UK Met Office told the Financial Times.

In Spain, Hard-to-Fight Fires

A helicopter battles a blaze in Alhaurin de la Torre, Malaga, Spain, Saturday, July 16, 2022. (Photo: Gregorio Marrero, AP) A helicopter battles a blaze in Alhaurin de la Torre, Malaga, Spain, Saturday, July 16, 2022. (Photo: Gregorio Marrero, AP)

More than 30 fires in various areas of Spain were still burning as of Sunday, forcing thousands to evacuate. Many of the blazes are in mountainous areas, presenting firefighters with a challenge and forcing the government to send the “majority” of its firefighting planes out to beat the blazes, officials said.

Temps in Spain Hit 42C

Residents of Sant Fruitós del Bages, Catalonia, Spain work together to extinguish a wildfire on July 17, 2022. (Photo: Lorena Sopêna / Europa Press, AP)Residents of Sant Fruitós del Bages, Catalonia, Spain work together to extinguish a wildfire on July 17, 2022. (Photo: Lorena Sopêna / Europa Press, AP)

The fires come amid a record-setting heatwave in Spain, after temperatures in some parts of the country hit 43 degrees Celsius in the second big heatwave of the summer. The heat is expected to let up somewhat on Monday.

Deadly Heat Across Spain & Portugal

A firefighter cries while fighting a blaze in the Losacio area of Spain on July 17, 2022. (Photo: Emilio Fraile/Europa Press, AP)A firefighter cries while fighting a blaze in the Losacio area of Spain on July 17, 2022. (Photo: Emilio Fraile/Europa Press, AP)

The heat has been much more deadly than the flames. Authorities estimate that 1,000 people across both Portugal and Spain have died during this week’s heatwave, while more than 120 deaths in Spain on Friday alone were attributed to the heat.

Tens of Thousands Evacuated in France

Firefighters work at a fire at La Teste de Buch, France, July 15, 2022 (Photo: Sipa, AP)Firefighters work at a fire at La Teste de Buch, France, July 15, 2022 (Photo: Sipa, AP)

In France, two major fires have been raging over the past week in the southwestern part of the country and have destroyed more than 24,710 acres. As of Sunday, more than 16,000 people have been forced to evacuate from the Gironde region south of the city of Bordeaux, as 1,200 firefighters and five planes fought a blaze there.

Fighting Fires Is ‘a Herculean Job’

A firefighter works to control a fire in In La Teste de Buch, France, July 15, 2022 (Photo: Sipa, AP)A firefighter works to control a fire in In La Teste de Buch, France, July 15, 2022 (Photo: Sipa, AP)

Firefighters have been hampered by dry conditions and strong winds in recent days. “It’s a Herculean job,” Lieutenant-Colonel Olivier Chavatte, who is helping to lead the firefighting and rescue operations, told the AFP.

France Will See Major Heat Monday

Tourists in Andernos-les-Bains look at wildfire smoke billowing from a fire in La Teste in southwestern France, on July 14, 2022.  (Photo: Olivier Morin/AFP, Getty Images)Tourists in Andernos-les-Bains look at wildfire smoke billowing from a fire in La Teste in southwestern France, on July 14, 2022. (Photo: Olivier Morin/AFP, Getty Images)

It may get even hotter in France on Monday: Temperatures may climb above 40 degrees Celsius.

In Portugal, 170 Fires in One Day

A resident reacts to a fire burning near his home in Albergaria a Velha, Portugal, on July 13, 2022. (Photo: Octavio Passos, Getty Images)A resident reacts to a fire burning near his home in Albergaria a Velha, Portugal, on July 13, 2022. (Photo: Octavio Passos, Getty Images)

In Portugal, fires have burned more than 74,000 acres of land across the country as Portugal suffered through a heatwave this week. Conditions are so primed to fire that 170 blazes broke out in just one day last week.

Pinhão, a town in the north, recorded a high of 47 degrees Celsius last week, making a new high July temperature for Portugal in July.

Pilot Dies Fighting Fires in Portugal

A lumber factory worker runs from a fire that hit his factory in Albergaria a Velha, Portugal on July 13, 2022.  (Photo: Octavio Passos, Getty Images)A lumber factory worker runs from a fire that hit his factory in Albergaria a Velha, Portugal on July 13, 2022. (Photo: Octavio Passos, Getty Images)

The fires have already claimed one life, after a firefighting plane crashed Friday, killing the pilot. Hundreds of people have also been injured in the blazes, and citizens have joined the firefighters in trying to beat back the fires threatening their homes.

The BBC reported Monday that fires in Portugal had been mostly contained.

Fires Torch Pine Forests in Morocco

A man drives through a burning forest in Larache, northern Morocco, Friday, July 15, 2022. (Photo: AP Photo, AP)A man drives through a burning forest in Larache, northern Morocco, Friday, July 15, 2022. (Photo: AP Photo, AP)

In Morocco, more than 1,300 people were ordered to evacuate four provinces in the northern part of the country last week as fires torched pine forests, leaving at least one person dead. As of Friday, more than 3,700 acres (1,500 hectares) of forest had been burnt.

More Difficult-to-Fight Fires

A firefighter battles a blaze in Larache, northern Morocco, Friday, July 15, 2022.  (Photo: AP Photo, AP)A firefighter battles a blaze in Larache, northern Morocco, Friday, July 15, 2022. (Photo: AP Photo, AP)

Officials said that the fires were in places difficult for firefighters to access, while strong winds made firefighting efforts more difficult. Temperatures in the country over the last week topped 40 degrees Celsius.