Heat scorches Iberian Peninsula, Spain fires force evacuation
Madrid, Jul 12 (EFE).- Spain and Portugal simmered under a heat wave Tuesday that is due to blanket the region with soaring temperatures in the coming days, creating tinder box conditions for wildfires.
Almost all regions of the Iberian Peninsula are on alert for extreme temperatures that could reach 44C (111F) in places.
Spanish emergency services are battling a blaze that erupted in an area of pine forest between the regions of Extremadura and Castile and Leon, and which has forced the evacuation of 400 villagers.
Prime minister Pedro Sánchez said his government was following the events with “concern.”
“Let’s be prudent in these days of high risk,” he tweeted.
The local government in Castile and Leon has declared a level 2 wildfire threat, the third highest on the 0-3 scale, and requested the aid of Spain’s military emergency units (UME).
Nine helicopters and four planes, including a firefighting aircraft, are involved in efforts to extinguish the fire, which are being hampered by the vast smoke plumes rising from the flames, local authorities said.
Both the Spanish and Portuguese weather agencies expect the temperatures to further increase Wednesday.
Maximum red weather alerts for extreme heat have been advised in all central and northern Portuguese regions by the IPMA meteorological agency.
Spain’s Aemet issued red alerts for two provinces on Wednesday, one in Andalusia and the other in Extremadura, two of Spain’s hottest regions.
The heat wave is due to subside early next week, according to forecasts. EFE