As Europe prepared for record temperatures and meteorologists issued a warning that the dangerous heatwave was likely to last into August, raging flames prompted the evacuation of tourist groups in Greece on Monday.
After flames erupted around Athens amid a heatwave, authorities have ordered the evacuation of many beach villages in the area.
More than 4,000 people were evacuated from La Palma in the Canary Islands on Sunday due to flames that are still burning there, and on Monday, two separate fires that broke out near Athens led to the evacuation of communities and hundreds of children from a summer camp.
The fire in Kouvaras, a village only 17 miles from the Greek capital, was fanned by strong winds and consumed seven miles in only two hours. Television images captured numerous homes and automobiles being completely destroyed by the fire as well as dense, white smoke rising from the burning vegetation.
As hundreds of firemen, troops, and volunteers battled the fire, an individual was detained on suspicion of setting it on fire. Around 1,200 campers and patients of a rehab facility were moved to a location around 55 miles away, close to the beach town of Loutraki.
Fire Alarm in Athens and Southern Greece
In line with the situation in Spain, the fire alarm level was also raised in Athens and parts of southern Greece. Additionally, nations farther from the Mediterranean, such as North Macedonia and Kosovo, issued excessive heat alerts.
In Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, where temperatures reached 34.4C on Monday, student Artan Kelani, 22, remarked, “Never in my life have I experienced heat like this before.”
The World Meteorological Organisation warned that the heat would only get worse by midweek, and that the north African anticyclone Charon, which was named after the ferryman of the dead from Greek mythology, could possibly break all previous records as it raises temperatures well above 45 degrees Celsius in some areas of Italy, Spain, and Greece.
Worsening condition in Italy
In Italy, the health ministry advised local governments to increase home health care services so senior citizens wouldn’t have to endure the heat to obtain care, as well as to set up special heat stations at hospitals to handle urgent situations.
Volunteers and water company representatives planned to be out in number in Rome, where the temperature was expected to reach 42C on Tuesday, directing sweaty visitors and residents to fountains and handing out bottled water at many spots across the city, including the Colosseum.
Parts of the Italian capital experienced power outages on Monday as a result of the high demand for air conditioners on the electric grid. In more rural areas, the farming lobby group Coldiretti in Italy reported that stressed cows were producing 10% less milk as a result of the heat.
“The bubble of hot air that has inflated over southern Europe has turned Italy and the surrounding countries into a giant pizza oven,” said Professor Hannah Cloke of the University of Reading.
With established high-pressure conditions, “the hot air that pushed in from Africa is now staying put, meaning that heat in warm sea, land, and air continues to build.”
The wildfire that broke out on La Palma on Saturday is still raging in Spain, having consumed an area greater than Glasgow at 460 square kilometres.
The 4,000 inhabitants who had been evacuated were permitted to begin returning to their houses late on Sunday after officials said that lighter winds and calmer temperatures were aiding firemen in battling the fire.