Disasters & Accidents

Spain PM warns ‘climate change kills’ as wildfire claims second victim

Madrid, Jul 18 (EFE).- Climate change kills people and destroys society’s assets, Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sánchez warned Monday after a wildfire in the country’s northwest is thought to have claimed its second life.

Police in the region of Castile and Leon told Efe that the body of a 69-year-old man was discovered in a mountainous area where he farmed sheep. Investigators have not confirmed the cause of death but believe it was directly related to the forest fire.

Monday’s discovery came a day after a 62-year-old firefighter died when he became trapped by flames during an operation to extinguish the same forest fire near the Portuguese border.

Prime minister Sánchez on Monday visited the scene of another wildfire in the southwestern region of Extremadura, one of Spain’s hottest, where he underlined the threats posed by wildfires and climate change to the nation.

“So far this year, fires have destroyed more than 70,000 hectares (about 173,000 acres) of our country,” he told a press conference. “To get an idea, that’s almost double the average of the last decade.”

“Climate change kills,” he added. “It kills people, it kills our ecosystem, our biodiversity, it destroys the most precious assets of our society as a whole, whose houses, businesses and livestock are affected by these fires.”

Weather warnings for extreme temperatures remained in place across swathes of Spain Monday following a heat wave fueled by hot North African air that has led to wildfires in Galicia, Andalusia, Castile and Leon, Extremadura and Catalonia.

The heat wave is striking a path northwards into France and the United Kingdom.

In neighboring Portugal, authorities Monday lowered the fire danger alert for the first time in a week after several blazes in the northern and central part of the country forced the government to announce a state of contingency.

A 38-year-pilot who had been taking part in an operation to extinguish a fire in Torre de Moncorvo, near the Spanish border in northern Portugal, died when his Fire Boss aircraft came down after collecting water from the Duero river on Friday, Portuguese authorities said. EFE


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