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Europe faces the cost of the heatwave as fires are under control in France

#Europe #faces #cost #heatwave #fires #control #France

Europe faced the cost of a record heatwave on Wednesday as French firefighters brought two blazes under control near Bordeaux and climate change protesters pointed to the sizzling weather as a wake-up call for the continent.

Temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) in the past few days have wreaked havoc on millions and shattered heat records, drawing attention to the effects of global warming.

Cooler air swept on Wednesday, bringing relief to people from Portugal to Britain, but thousands of firefighters continued to battle mass fires that have broken out in several countries in recent days after months of drought-like conditions.

“Our assessment is generally positive. The situation has improved overnight,” French Fire Brigade spokesman Arnaud Mendousse told AFP from the southwestern Gironde region, where since last week two huge fires have engulfed 20,600 hectares (50,900 acres) of dry forest.

The inferno had barely spread overnight, with lower temperatures and the construction of a 1,000-foot (300-meter) wide firebreak that helped stem the spread of the flames.

President Emmanuel Macron was due to visit later on Wednesday to speak with members of the emergency services and some of the 37,000 people who have been evacuated in the popular Atlantic region, which joins with tourists in the summer months.

Two firefighters were seriously injured overnight, government spokesman Olivier Veran told reporters.

Single blazes in the Monts d’Arree area of ​​north-west Brittany continued to rage on Wednesday, with planes dropping water from above.

Greek planes and helicopters have also been deployed to fight a wildfire that has forced hundreds of people to flee the mountainous suburbs north of Athens.

Greece had been spared the scorching heatwave in western Europe, but blazes fanned by strong winds threatened the suburbs of Penteli, Pallini, Anthousa and Gerakas, home to tens of thousands of people.

“The civil protection agency alerted us too late,” a Pallini resident who lost his car and fell in the flames told ERT television. “The fire singed our backs, we left just in time. If we stayed another 30 seconds it would have burned us.”

Firefighters have also been deployed in Portugal, Spain and Italy in recent weeks to tackle wildfires.

– heat records –

The heatwave saw a series of local records in France and a new all-time record for Britain, where the national weather service in eastern England hit 40.3C, beating the previous high of 2019.

Grassland fires broke out on the outskirts of London on Tuesday, one of which forced the evacuation of 14 people as farm buildings, houses and garages were consumed by the blazes.

Sixteen firefighters were injured in the capital, with two hospitalized, the London Fire Brigade said.

“Yesterday was the busiest day for fire services in London since the Second World War,” the city’s Mayor Sadiq Khan told Sky News on Wednesday, urging the public to remain vigilant despite falling temperatures.

Khan also accused Conservative leaders vying to succeed Prime Minister Boris Johnson of ignoring the “elephant in the room” of climate change.

Climate protesters unleashed a long traffic jam on Britain’s busiest motorway around London on Wednesday as they tried to highlight the need for bigger action to cut greenhouse gases responsible for global warming.

Members of the Just Stop Oil group climbed bridges over the M25 arterial motorway, prompting police intervention and reversing vehicles several kilometers in one direction.

“This is the moment when climate inaction is truly revealed in all its murderous glory for all to see: as an elite-driven death project that will wipe out all life if we let it,” the activist group said in a statement .

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#Europe #faces #cost #heatwave #fires #control #France

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