STORY: Authorities across southern Europe continued to battle huge wildfires on Sunday in countries including Spain, Greece, France and Italy with hundreds of deaths blamed on soaring temperatures that scientists say are consistent with climate change.
Shocked residents watched thick plumes of smoke rise above Spain’s central western Jerte Valley.
Resident Miguel Angel Tamayo said the heat was making their previously green and cool home more like Spain’s semi-arid south.
"Climate change affects everyone. This area which is green and cool in summer is becoming like the south, like Badajoz, Cordoba and Sevilla."
Across the country in Catalonia, people were forced to flee their homes as a wildfire quickly spread near residential areas.
Temperatures in the country have reached as high as 114 degrees Fahrenheit (45.7 Celsius) during the nearly week-long heatwave.
Residents in Madrid took to the streets in an annual water fight to battle the heat.
Spain’s weather agency said it would end Monday, but warned temperatures would remain “abnormally high.”
In France, wildfires have now spread over 27,000 acres (11,000 hectares) in the southwestern region of Gironde, and more than 14,000 people have been evacuated, regional authorities said Sunday… adding that more than 1,200 firefighters were working to control blazes that have grown massively over the past few days.
The country has issued red alerts for several regions – the highest possible warning – urging residents “to be extremely vigilant.”
In Italy, where smaller fires have blazed in recent days, forecasters expect temperatures above 40 Celsius, or 104 degrees Fahrenheit, in several regions in coming days.
Similar temperatures are forecast in Britain on Monday and Tuesday in what would top a previous official record of 38.7 Celsius (102F) set in Cambridge in 2019…
Britian’s national weather service has issued its first extreme heat warning for parts of England.
On Sunday, the beaches in the southern town of Bournemouth were packed as people sought to cool off in the sea.