Spain braces for third heatwave as fires rage across Europe

Continent on alert as temperatures rise and threat of blazes spreading looms large

Smoke billows from a fire in the Cypriot village of Paramytha. AFP
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Spain is preparing for a third heatwave of the summer, with its national weather forecaster predicting temperatures of between 38°C and 44°C for the week ahead.

The latest heatwave is expected to affect a significant part of the country and last until Thursday, leaving only the western Cantabrian and Mediterranean coasts with slightly cooler conditions, the State Meteorological Agency said.

A weather map has warned of temperatures as high as 44°C in Badajoz, while cities such as Sevilla, Cordoba, and Caceres may hit 42°C.

A fire that erupted approximately 10km from Cadiz, a city on the Atlantic coast that is popular among tourists, was stabilised by midnight on Sunday, according to the firefighting service Infoca.

Catalonia and Andalusia, the two regions most prone to drought in Spain, present conditions that often lead to fires.

Parts of Europe have been battling wildfires for weeks, as record-breaking temperatures and a lack of rain have created tinderbox conditions, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people.

Portugal wildfire

Neighbouring Portugal is under similar extreme heat, with more than 1,000 firefighters battling a wildfire in the centre of the country.

The fire, which began on Friday, has already destroyed 7,000 hectares of land and 11 people have been injured.

Authorities have warned the risk of wildfires remains extremely high across the country, with temperatures surpassing 40ºC.

More than 400 firefighters were on Monday at the scene of another fire near Odemira in the south-west.

Cyprus calls for help

More than 3,600km away in Cyprus, a massive forest fire north of Limassol has required international assistance.

Greece answered the call on Monday, sending two Canadair firefighting planes and sending 20 tonnes of fire retardant.

Jordan is also helping Cyprus, sending three helicopters.

The fire, which has scorched 10 square kilometres of land, has been contained but officials warn strong winds could fan the flames.

Talks with Israel for additional air support are continuing and many residents have returned to their evacuated homes.

New fire breaks out in southern Spain

Firefighters in Spain and France, meanwhile, have contained a wildfire near their border.

The fire, which started on Friday, had destroyed about 573 hectares of land around Portbou.

However, authorities in the southern region of Andalusia reported that 150 firefighters were battling another blaze on Saturday.

Seventeen planes and helicopters were sent with about 70 people evacuated.

Weather forecasters have warned that winds may pick up again.

Thousands of tourists and locals flee as wildfires rage on Greek island of Rhodes

Thousands of tourists and locals flee as wildfires rage on Greek island of Rhodes

Residents are urged to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel.

Last year, wildfires destroyed more than 300,000 hectares in Spain, setting a European record.

So far this year, 70,000 hectares have been scorched, the European Forest Fire Information System said.

Updated: August 07, 2023, 11:05 AM