Europe is currently grappling with scorching temperatures and dry weather that have led to wildfires erupting in several regions.
Recent reports show that June was the hottest month on record in the 174-year history of temperature monitoring, and July is on track to surpass that record.
Dubrovnik, Croatia's top tourist destination, faced a serious threat on Tuesday as flames came within 12 km of the city. Strong winds hindered the deployment of aircraft, but the fire was brought under control as of Wednesday.
Over 300 firefighters battled to contain fires near the city of Arles on Tuesday. Additionally, several more fires broke out in southwestern France, leading to the southern Bouches-du-Rhone department being placed under a “red alert.”
Greece witnessed a staggering 61 wildfires in the past 24 hours as of Wednesday. Intensified by strong winds and temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), the blazes resulted in two fatalities in the coastal area of Magnesia, north of Athens, and forced a new wave of evacuations. Fires that have been burning on the island of Rhodes since July 19 led to the evacuation of around 20,000 people, with tourists being flown home and upcoming trips cancelled by tour operators.
Italian firefighters faced nearly 1,400 fires between Sunday and Tuesday, with 650 in Sicily and 390 in Calabria. Tragically, three elderly people lost their lives in the region of Palermo in Sicily, while another 98-year-old man was killed as a fire consumed his home in Calabria.
Eastern Sicily witnessed temperatures rising to a scorching 47 Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) on Sunday, close to the record European high of 48.8 Celsius from two years ago.
A wildfire swept through a natural park near the popular holiday destination of Cascais in southern Portugal, and strong winds complicated firefighting efforts. Nevertheless, authorities reported that the fire was under control as of Wednesday. Mainland Portugal is facing a severe drought, affecting approximately 90% of the country.
A wildfire broke out at the centre of Gran Canaria on Tuesday, leading to the evacuation of hundreds of villagers. The fire ravaged 400 hectares of woodland before being stabilized early Thursday.
On the neighbouring island of La Palma, another fire led to the evacuation of over 4,000 people and scorched 2,900 hectares of land between July 15 and 19. Spain has been experiencing a prolonged period of drought, with the first four months of 2023 being the driest on record.
In Bitsch, Valais canton, near the Italian border, more than 200 people were evacuated due to a fire on the forested flank of a mountain. The blaze started on July 17 and, as of July 22, the situation was reported to be stable by officials.
A wildfire near the resort of Kemer in the southern province of Antalya burned 120 hectares of woodland on Tuesday. As a precaution, Kemer State Hospital was evacuated, and six people were hospitalized due to smoke inhalation.