Wildfires rage across Europe as countries battle intense heat wave

Tuesday, July 31, 2018
By Paul Martin

Jul 31, 2018

As a scorching heat wave engulfs large parts of Europe this summer, fires have torn through dozens of countries across the European Union. From Germany to France to Sweden, countries in Western Europe are set for another intense heat wave this week with temperatures soaring above 90 degrees. As firefighters continue to battle treacherous blazes that have killed scores of people, here’s a look at what some European countries face as wildfires continue to scorch large swaths of land.

More than 80 people died in a wildfire that swept through the seaside coastal town of Mati. Authorities suspect the cause of the fire was arson.

“The country is going through an unspeakable tragedy,” Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on July 24.

The fire was the deadliest in a decade. About 200 firefighters were battling the blaze in Mati. Confused tourists and residents were forced to flee to the sea to escape the fast-moving blaze. Amid the chaos, some people got trapped on dead-end roads or cliffs and weren’t able to get away.

Tsipras declared three days of national mourning to honor those who died.

As an unusual heat wave continues to engulf Sweden, with temperatures reaching above 90 degrees just north of the Arctic Circle, at least 40 wildfires are burning across the country — home to more than 9 million people and an amazing array of wildlife.

Some fires were sparked by thunderstorms, with an estimated 62,000 acres burned so far. Italian planes and Norwegian helicopters have been fighting the fast-moving flames, and more help from other European countries, including France and Germany, is on the way. However, strong winds will continue to push the fire.

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