More than 600 people evacuated near Berlin after forest fire spreads as Germany and Spain continue to battle wildfire blazes amid unusual heat wave
- Wildfires have broken out in Germany making it the latest country to fight against the heatwave
- Almost 20,000 hectares of land has been burned in the Sierra de la Culebra mountain range in Spain
- Around 500 firefighters are still tackling the blazes which have been whipped up in windy conditions
- In France, some 18 million people woke to heat wave alerts affecting about a third of the country Friday
Firefighters in Spain and Germany struggled to contain wildfires on Sunday amid an unusual heat wave in Western Europe for this time of year.
Residents had to be evacuated after a forest fire blazed through Treuenbrietzen in the south-west of Berlin, as the country joined others seeing rising temperatures earlier in the year than normal.
Three districts around the fire have been evacuated, with a fourth also coming under threat as hundreds of residents leave their homes and apartments.
Approximately 620 people have evacuated their homes according to Andrea Metzler, spokeswoman for the district, who said that flying sparks had ignited a field – according to RBB24.
The site is a former blasting and training ground with ammunition and explosive ordnance in the ground, stopping the firefighters from getting directly to the fire.
The government has set up an emergency shelter in the Stadthalle Treuenbrietzen for evacuees.
In the early morning hours, another forest fire broke out in the Trecktal area of the Upper Harz mountain range, Lower Saxony, along with a forest fire in Potsdam-Mittelmark that also sparked up on Sunday.
Germany’s national weather service predicted that the high temperatures would continue over the weekend, as the heat moves into central and Eastern Europe, approaching 30 degrees Celsius in some areas.
Approaching thunderstorms and shower-like rain are expected before the temperatures levels off.
The heatwave follows an unusually dry spring in Western Europe, with authorities ordering water to be rationed in northern Italy and parts of France and Germany.
A cloud of smoke can be seen from afar not far from the district of Frohnsdorf, Germany, the latest country to find itself fighting fires amid an unusual heatwave
A police water cannon is in action in a forest fire in Treuenbrietzen, Germany. In the early morning hours, a forest fire broke out in the Trecktal area of the Upper Harz in Trecktal, with temperatures forecast to top 30 degrees Celsius in the area
Air Force of the German Armed Forces Bundeswehr shows soldiers fixing a container on a CH-53 helicopter to draw water from a nearby lake in order to extinguish a wildfire around Treuenbrietzen
According to the administration of the municipality, residents of two local districts had to be evacuated on Sunday due to the fast spreading fire raised by strong wind
Elsewhere in Europe, the temperature kept climbing amid a searing heatwave which exacerbated wildfires in Spain and prompted evacuations from several villages.
Spain was already heading towards its hottest early summer temperatures in decades this week, with forecasts of between 104-108F in northeast and northwest Spain, according to national weather agency AEMET.
The baking heat combined with windy conditions has triggered wildfires in several areas, with Zamora, near the northwestern border with Portugal, among the worst hit.
Almost 20,000 hectares of land had been burned in the Sierra de la Culebra mountain range and the fire was ‘still active’, said a tweet Saturday from the regional government of Castile and Leon, where Zamora is located.
On Saturday afternoon, it said 11 villages had been evacuated and some 500 firefighters were battling to extinguish the terrifying blaze.
Firefighters operate at the site of a wildfire in Pumarejo de Tera near Zamora, northern Spain, on June 18, 2022
Firefighters continued to fight against multiple fires in Spain, one of which ravaged nearly 20,000 hectares of land, on the last day of an extreme heat wave which crushed the country, with peaks at 43 degrees
The largest of these forest fires was still out of control this afternoon in the Sierra de la Culebra, a mountain range in the region of Castile and Leon (northwest), near the border with Portugal
Members of the Military Emergencies Unit work to extinguish a wildfire near Artesa de Segre, Spain, June 16, 2022
Some 500 firefighters are battling to extinguish the terrifying blaze in Spain, whipped up by strong winds amid brutally hot temperatures
An AS-350 ‘Ecureuil’ fire-fighting helicopter takes part in fire containment operations in Artesa de Segre, in Catalonia
A member of the Military Emergencies Unit looks on while he works to extinguish a wildfire near Artesa de Segre, Spain, June 16, 2022
This photograph taken on June 17, 2022 shows a pharmacy sign displaying the temperature of 42,5 Celsius degrees in Bordeaux, south-western France
People take a bath in the river Limmat at Letten, as a heat wave reaches the country, in Zurich, Switzerland, 18 June 2022
A woman passes her hand under the spray of a fountain in the city of Perpignan, southern France on June 17, 2022
The current heat wave in Europe started almost a week ago in Spain, where temperatures reached 43 C (109.4F). Spanish authorities hope the weather will begin to cool again Sunday.
The intense temperatures and a lack of rain has helped fuel wildfires across Spain, taxing firefighting capacity.
In Catalonia, firefighters who were trying to bring a fire under control in Baldomar said they expected Saturday to be ‘complicated’ by ‘very high temperatures and a strong southerly wind’.
Flames crackled and raged high into the air on the outskirts of the village of Caudiel, in Castellon, eastern Spain.
Firefighters, wearing masks, goggles and helmets, struggled to bring the flames under control. They helped evacuate residents, some of whom dragged along their pet dogs and horses, as smoke wafted through the village.
‘This is evidence of climate change,’ Bernardo Funes, 63, a stallholder and organic farmer in Zaragoza, told Reuters. ‘It’s very worrying because… we’ve already had highs of 34, 35 degrees in May and now in June, it’s something like 44 degrees.’
The northeastern Spanish city’s farmers market is typically a hive of activity on Saturday afternoon, but the stall owners and visitors alike simply rested in the shade and tried their best to keep hydrated as the mercury reached 107.6F at 4pm.
Outside the city’s grand cathedral, Marisa Gutierrez was sitting beneath a shaded canopy that displayed the lottery tickets she was selling.
‘It’s been very bad, with a hot wind that felt as if it was from the desert,’ she told Reuters. ‘This isn’t normal… at this time of year there’s usually a pleasant temperature but not this heat.’
Meanwhile at a stag do in the city centre, participants, dressed as Romans, said they were having to drink as much water as beer.
People walk past a street thermometer reading 46 degrees celsius as near record temperatures continue to affect the country, in Bilbao, Spain June 17, 2022
A man cools off in The Trocadero Fountains in front of The Eiffel Tower in Paris on June 18, 2022, amid record high temperatures sweeping across France and western Europe
A helicopter overflies a wildfire near Artesa de Segre, Spain, June 16, 2022. Many areas of Western Europe have been sweltering under unseasonably hot temperatures over the past few days, compounding climate change fears
Flames engulf a wood pile during a wildfire blaze in a forest in Genille, Central France. Emergency services battled wildfires as France remained in the grip of an exceptional heatwave that has seen temperatures reach 40 degrees Celsius
In France, special measures have been taken in care homes for elderly people, still marked by the memory of a deadly 2003 heatwave. Pictured: A solitary plant grows on a dry bank of the Loire River, in Montjean-sur-Loire
It’s not just Spain bearing the brunt of the brutal euro heatwave. Many areas of Western Europe have been sweltering under unseasonably hot temperatures over the past few days, compounding climate change fears.
Meteorologists say the unusually early heatwave is a sign of what’s to come as global warming continues, moving up in the calendar the temperatures that Europe would previously have seen only in July and August.
‘In some parts of Spain and France, temperatures are more than 10 degrees higher – that’s huge – than the average for this time of year,’ Clare Nullis, a spokesperson for the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, said.
In France, some 18 million people woke to heat wave alerts affecting about a third of the country Friday, and forest fire warnings were issued from the Pyrenees in the south to the Paris region.
The southwestern French city of Bordeaux saw the mercury peak at 108.5 yesterday, while people as far north as Paris were seen dipping in the city’s fountains to cool off. Temperatures in Montpellier even reached 114F this week.
On Friday, schoolchildren were allowed to skip classes in the 12 western and southwestern French regions that were under the highest alert. The government stepped up efforts to ensure nursing home residents and other vulnerable populations could stay hydrated.
Temperatures in France have mounted all week and passed 39 C (102.2 F) in the southwest Friday. Nighttime temperatures are also unusually high, and the heat is stretching to normally cooler regions in Brittany and Normandy on the Atlantic Coast.
Matthieu Sorel, a climatologist at national weather service Meteo France, told public broadcaster France-Info that temperatures are expected to break several records.
A man cools off in The Trocadero Fountains across from the Eiffel Tower in Paris on June 18, 2022
A woman refreshes at a fountain in Casa de Campo during a heatwave in Madrid, Spain
Women wearing hats to protect themselves from the sun stand near a public fountain in Nice as an early heatwave hits France, June 16, 2022
A man cools off in a fountain in the Lustgarten during hot summer weather temperatures on June 18, 2022 in Berlin, Germany
The German weather service issued a heat warning due to temperatures expected to reach 34 degrees Celsius, which is unseasonably hot for June
In Gironde, southwest of France, public events outdoors have been banned ‘until the heatwave ends’. Indoor events at venues without air-conditioning have also prohibited.
Meanwhile schoolchildren in the 12 ‘red alert’ areas were told to stay home, and care home residents were rotated through air-conditioned rooms.
‘Everyone now faces a health risk,’ local official Fabienne Buccio told France Bleu radio, while a climatologist at national weather service Meteo France told public broadcaster France-Info that temperatures are expected to break several records.
In the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, people boarded trains to the nearest North Sea beach early Friday afternoon while others took to boats and stand-up paddle boards on one of the city’s historic ring of canals.
Nearly a third of Americans were under some form of heat advisory this week. During months of scorching temperatures, India and Pakistan saw the mercury scrape past 50 C (122 F) in some places
Authorities are also ordering citizens to ration water in northern Italy and parts of France and Germany.
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