Extreme Weather in the Med: Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey and Algeria Battle Fire Inferno

Written by | Thursday, August 19th, 2021

Wildfires, storms, floods and storms — extreme weather conditions fueling disasters throughout Europe and North Africa continue not only to cause devastation but also claim lives. A summer of wildfires has swept across the Mediterranean region, leaving areas in Greece, Turkey, Italy, Algeria and Spain, among other countries, in smouldering ruins. In France, blaze near Saint-Tropez has forced thousands to evacuate as a summer of wildfires continues to grip the Mediterranean region. Hundreds of firefighters were struggling for a third day on Wednesday (18 August) to contain France’s worst wildfire of the summer near the glitzy Riviera resort town. The blaze has scorched some 5,000 hectares in a region known for its forests, vineyards and fauna since it broke out in the Plaine des Maures nature reserve on Monday evening and forced thousands of residents and tourists to flee. At least 22 people, including two firefighters, have reportedly suffered from smoke inhalation or minor fire-related injuries so far.
The Mediterranean basin has long faced seasonal wildfires linked to its dry and hot weather in the summer, but climate scientists warn they will become increasingly common because of man-made global warming. Climate scientists say there is little doubt that climate change from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas is driving extreme events, such as heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, floods and storms. In Greece, hundreds of firefighters struggle to contain a blaze northwest of Athens for two days running. The fire in the Vilia area has reportedly forced the evacuation of a care home and several villages. Efforts are also underway to stop another fire burning in the Keratea area southeast of Athens from reaching the National Forest of Sounio. Hundreds of wildfires have burned across Greece this month, fueled by the country’s most severe heat wave in decades.
In the north of Italy, emergency services have been responding to flooding and storm damage, while the south of the country reels in extreme temperatures, caused by the so-called Lucifer anticyclone. Rain, hail and wind were being reported in Friuli Venezia Giulia (northeast Italy). The province of Pordenone was particularly hard-hit where people had to evacuate their homes at Azzano Decino. Such extreme weather is expected to happen more frequently as the planet is warming. Climate scientists say there is little doubt climate change from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas is driving extreme events, such as heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods and storms. Across the Mediterranean, the fires have killed at least 75 people in Algeria and 16 in Turkey.

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