Europe is on fire: high temperatures and drought fuel the fires that have developed in recent weeks in Greece, Portugal, France and Spain. Thousands of people evacuated in different European countries.
Greece, like much of Europe, continues to burn. Widespread fires occur in many countries that are suffering from the consequences of heat and drought. In the last 24 hours, the Greek firefighters have counted at least 51 forest fires. In Crete, tourists and residents of the town of Orne, near Rethymno, were advised to leave their homes.
It is the second day that Rethymno burns: the vast fire that broke out yesterday was reignited in the afternoon today due to the strong winds. Already yesterday the villages in the area had been evacuated, by order of the mayor, due to the uncontrollable fires. A first fire broke out on Friday in a mountain area of the municipality of Agios Vasilios, between the villages of Orne and Krya Vrysi, in Rethymno. Orne had also been evacuated as a precaution as the flames had reached 80 meters from its perimeter. On the spot, to try to put out the flames, dozens of firefighters with fire engines and helicopters intervened. The strong wind, however, hinders the operations of the firefighters.
Thousands of people have also been forced to leave their homes due to fires in Spain, Portugal and France. The mercury column also skyrockets in Great Britain, where 40 degrees are expected next week. From 1 January to 16 July in the Member States a total of 346 thousand hectares of wooded areas went up in flames, an area larger than the Aosta Valley. The picture emerges from an analysis of the data provided by the European Forest Fire Information System (Effis) of the European Commission.
Looking at individual nations, among the 27 EU countries the most affected so far is Romania, with 149 thousand hectares that have gone up in smoke since the beginning of the year due to 735 fires. In Italy from January 1st to July 16th 22,930 hectares were burned, a figure much higher than the 2006-2021 average, which is equal to 14,061 hectares in the same period of time. In Greece so far, the hectares burned are just over 4 thousand, a figure below the average of the last 16 years.