Thousands of people have been evacuated in France and Spain as raging wildfires spread as far as the Atlantic coast amid blistering temperatures that are likely increase across Europe early this week.
Wildfires rage in France and Spain as heat-related deaths soar in Europe
Firefighters battled wildfires raging out of control in Spain and France, including one whose flames reached two popular Atlantic beaches on Sunday, as Europe wilted under an unusually extreme heat wave.
So far, there have been no fire-related deaths in France or Spain, but authorities in Madrid have blamed soaring temperatures for hundreds of deaths. And two huge blazes, which have consumed pine forests for six days in southwestern France, have forced the evacuation of some 16,200 people.
In dramatic images posted online, a wall of black smoke could be seen rolling toward the Atlantic on a stretch of Bordeaux’s coast that is prized by surfers from around the world. Flames raced across trees abutting a broad sandy beach, as planes flew low to suck up water from the ocean. Elsewhere, smoke blanketed the skyline above a mass of singed trees in images shared by French firefighters.
In Spain, firefighters supported by military brigades tried to stamp out over 30 fires consuming forests spread across the country. Spain’s National Defence Department said that “the majority” of its fire-fighting aircraft have been deployed to reach the blazes, many of which are in rugged, hilly terrain that is difficult for ground crews to access.