Hottest day on record in UK, smoke from fires over Bordeaux

Hottest day on record in UK, smoke from fires over Bordeaux

Swimmers overlook an enormous plume of smoke from a forest fire in La Teste, in the Gironde (southwest of France).AFP photo

As the heat wave moves north, temperatures in Spain and Portugal dropped to normal summer temperatures on Tuesday. The temperature in northern Spain was still 43 degrees on Monday. Firefighters in both countries, as well as in France and Greece, tried with all their might to extinguish dozens of forest fires.

The hottest day ever measured in the UK was when the thermometer at Heathrow Airport read 40 degrees. Then the town of Coningsby in eastern England broke this new record by a score of 40.3. The old temperature record of 38.7 degrees goes back to 2019.

In and around London dozens of fires broke out in dry grasslands and woods. Some highways were obstructed by smoke. The pressure on London firefighters is so great that they have to call in reinforcements and equipment from other emergency services. We urge the English not to roast on dry lawns.

A large part of England, also for the first time, was warned of the ‘severe heat’. At least six Britons drowned on Tuesday while their bodies were still in lakes and rivers. Public transportation was severely disrupted, including non-running trains. Flights were also canceled due to heat from the runway at Luton Regional Airport. “There is a huge disruption to travel,” Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said. “The infrastructure, much of it dating back to the Victorian era, is not built to withstand these kinds of temperatures.”

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Thousands of firefighters in various southern European countries have attempted, with varying degrees of success, to control countless wildfires. More than thirty fires broke out in Spain, including in the province of Zamora. To date, thousands of residents of 32 villages have been evacuated here.

In neighboring Portugal, more than 1,000 firefighters attempted to fight five major wildfires. About fifty municipalities, mostly in the north and center of the country, remained in the danger zone on Tuesday. The heat wave has already killed more than a thousand people, most of them elderly, according to the Portuguese health services.

Although firefighters in Greece were able to control more than 70 forest fires on Monday, the danger is not over. A new forest fire broke out, Tuesday, in the northeast of the capital, Athens, about 26 kilometers from the city. Fires also broke out near Italian cities such as Trieste and Rome and in the Tuscany region.

smoke over Bordeaux

In the southwestern Gironde region, the French fire service has been battling two major fires raging since last week. About two thousand firefighters were posted here. The fire destroyed nearly 20 thousand hectares. It’s the most dangerous fire there has been in over thirty years. A fire is ravaging the countryside outside Bordeaux. A man has since been arrested on suspicion of arson.

So far, 34,000 residents have had to leave their homes. Because the winds changed direction, there was a lot of smoke over Bordeaux on Tuesday. “It’s a beast,” regional president Jean-Luc Glezy said of the fires. “It’s like an octopus. It grows and grows in front and behind in the heat, wind and lack of water. It’s a hard-to-fight monster. On Monday evening, a small fire broke out north of Bordeaux in the Medoc region, burning five campgrounds.”

In Germany, a temperature of up to 40 degrees was also taken into account. In the vast majority of states, ten out of sixteen, the highest level of a wildfire warning is in effect.

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