As the heatwave continues across Europe, authorities in Spain also continue to scramble water-bombing planes, helicopters and firefighters to battle the many wildfires spreading through tinder-dry forests.
In recent days, unusually high temperatures have gripped swaths of Europe, triggering wildfires from Portugal to the Balkan region. Some countries are also experiencing extended droughts. Climate change makes such life-threatening extremes less of a rarity — and has brought heatwaves even to places like the UK, which has braced itself for possibly record-breaking temperatures on Monday and Tuesday.
According to Spain’s Carlos III Health Institute, there have been 510 deaths attributable to the high temperatures recorded in the first seven days of the heatwave, which correspond to the period from Sunday 10 July to Saturday 16 July, the day on which it is estimated that 150 people died from the heat.
Two people were directly killed in the wildfires at the weekend that Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, has linked to global warming, saying: ‘Climate change kills.’
The body of a 69-year-old sheep farmer was found on Monday in the same hilly area where a 62-year-old firefighter died a day earlier when he was trapped by flames in the northwestern Zamora province (Castilla y León).
More than 30 forest fires around Spain have forced the evacuation of thousands of people and blackened 220 square kilometres of forest and scrub.
A video shot from a train in Zamora on Monday morning showed passengers flanked on both sides by wildfires. The train began moving again after a few minutes and nobody was harmed, but passengers were visibly shocked. The video was captured by Francisco Seoane Pérez (see Tweet link below).
‘Moments of panic on the Madrid-Ferrol train at Zamora-Sanabria, 9.30am,’ he tweeted. ‘The train continued the journey after a few minutes stopped.’
Momentos de pánico en el tren Madrid-Ferrol a la altura de Zamora-Sanabria, 9:30hs. El tren continuó el trayecto tras unos minutos parado. @renfe @adif @lavozdegalicia pic.twitter.com/YXcuBXlIJQ— Francisco Seoane Pérez (@PacoSeoanePerez) July 18, 2022
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