Aug 02, 2021
Southern Europe continues to bake and burn under intense heat Monday as scores of fires have forced evacuations and caused mass destruction across Italy, Greece, and Turkey.
Greek authorities issued warnings of "dangerous" heat, and on Monday, inland parts of the country reached as high as 45deg C (113 deg F). The worst of the region's heat is expected to fall Monday and Tuesday, according to AccuWeather meteorologists, with temperatures possibly topping the continental record of 48deg C (118.4deg F).
"Conditions look to remain very hot for much of the week, and will continue to rival record high temperatures," said AccuWeather meteorologist Alyssa Smithmyer.
Intense heat in the region has fueled wildfires.
From Agence France-Presse:
Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said that there had been 1,584 fires across Greece in July compared to 953 in 2019, and that there had been 116 new blazes in just the last 24 hours.
"We are no longer talking about climate change but about a climate threat," he told Star TV.
Wildfires have been sweeping through parts of Turkey as well. Now in their sixth day, they've been blamed for at least eight deaths and the hospitalization of over two dozen people.
Muzeyyan Kacar, a 56-year-old resident of the Turkish village of Kacarlar, gave a devastating account to CNN of the devastation.
"The animals are on fire," she said. "Everything is going to burn. Our land, our animals, and our house. What else do we have anyway?"
Social media users have been sharing dramatic images of the blazes in Turkey and harrowing escapes:
\u201cThis is Bodrum. We\u2019re living in hell, says the mayor: \u201cIt\u2019s not possible to put down the fires from the ground, and it\u2019s too late to use firefighter planes or helicopters. We\u2019re trying to protect residential areas. But we can do nothing to save the trees\u201d— Selin Girit (@Selin Girit) 1627846505
The fires, as Al Jazeerareported Monday, erupted last week.
While the majority have been extinguished, responders were still tacking seven blazes in the coastal provinces of Antalya and Mugla--popular tourist areas, and in Tunceli, southeast Turkey...
The wildfires are the worst of their kind in at least a decade, with nearly 95,000 hectares (235,000 acres) burned so far this year, compared with an average of 13,516 at the same point in the years between 2008 and 2020.
The international conservationist group WWF said the heat and fires in the region must be seen by world leaders as a reason to act urgently on climate:
\u201cIn Greece \ud83c\uddec\ud83c\uddf7 fires are burning out of control as the country experiences an intense heatwave. \n \nIn Sicily \ud83c\uddee\ud83c\uddf9 162 fires are raging.\n\n#TheRaceIsOn for world leaders to take urgent action & protect our home from the worst impacts of climate change. \nhttps://t.co/9TtfxCF3ji\u201d— WWF (@WWF) 1627894611
Last week in Sardinia, wildfires scorched tens of thousands of acres and killed hundreds of farm animals.
The situation prompted regional governor Christian Solinas to declare a state of emergency and call it "a disaster without precedent."
Southeast Europe's heatwave, however, "is not at all unexpected," climate scientist Dann Mitchell told the Associated Press, "and very likely enhanced due to human-induced climate change."
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