France’s southwestern region of Gironde has seen its worst fire ever.
A total of 14,300 hectares (35,000 acres) of land had been burned as of Monday, and 24,000 people had been evacuated from the region, Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Gironde prefecture said on Twitter.
Authorities have deployed 1,700 firefighters to douse the blaze. A spokesman for the Gironde regional fire and rescue service said 12 firefighters had suffered minor injuries since the operation began.
Warmer temperatures in Portugal have exacerbated a drought that began before the heat wave, according to data from the National Meteorological Institute. 96% of the land area was already affected by severe or severe drought by the end of June.
‘Peak of Intensity’
Monthly minimum temperature records could be broken across France on Monday, according to the National Weather Service. Météo-France has identified nine locations that look set to break the monthly minimum, including Rostrenen in Brittany, northwest France, where the record has stood since 1968.
Météo-France has issued a heatwave red warning for a total of 15 departments in the west and southwest, excluding the Gironde, as temperatures are expected to reach 42 degrees Celsius (108 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday. A further 51 regions, including Paris, were placed under an orange alert, with residents urged to avoid going outside between 11am and 9pm local time.
“Given the peak of intensity expected today, there is little chance that the mercury will drop enough before the end of the day” to keep these records from being broken, Météo-France added.
Since May, the average daily temperature has seen only eight days above the summer average temperature. On the remaining 39 days, national daily averages exceeded the average temperature for the year between 1991 and 2020, according to Meteo-France data.
The report said water supply could be “compromised” in the coming months.
‘Hottest day in UK history’
On Monday, temperatures reached 38.1 degrees in Sandton Downham, east England, and Tuesday was “expected to be even hotter”, said Penelope Endersby, chief executive of the Met Office.
“So we’re actually looking at temperatures of 40 degrees and above tomorrow,” Endersby told BBC radio on Monday.
“Even more than that, 41 is not in the cards. We’ve even got some 43s in the model, but we’re hoping it won’t be that many.”
Although extreme temperatures are not expected beyond Tuesday, Endersby said the Met Office would monitor the potential for drought in the coming months.
“We expect a big drop in temperatures overnight on Wednesday – 10 or 12 degrees lower than the previous days,” he said, adding: “Once these two days pass, our focus turns to when we can see the drought and any rain, and if we see significant rain coming. missing.”
Oxford University professor Miles Allen has warned that global warming is inevitable if humanity does not reduce its carbon emissions.
“This is not a new normal because we’re always on a trend toward warmer temperatures,” Allen told CNN on Monday.
The solution, he said, would be transformational across the energy sector. Individual companies are unlikely to change their business models unilaterally due to concerns about losing competitiveness with rivals, he said.
“It should be a regulation across the industry,” Allen said.
Joseph Ataman, Jimmy Hutcheon and Xiafei Xu reported from Paris. Zahid Mahmood and Sana Noor Haq reported from London. CNN’s Renee Bertini, James Frater and Sharon Braithwaite reported for this post.
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