New York Post

Wildfires ravage hot, dry Europe


Firefighte­rs in Spain and Germany struggled to contain wildfires on Sunday amid an unusual heat wave in Western Europe for this time of year.

The worst damage in Spain has been in the northwest province of Zamora, where more than 61,000 acres have been consumed, regional authoritie­s said, while German officials said residents of three villages near Berlin were ordered to leave their homes because of an approachin­g wildfire Sunday.

Spanish authoritie­s said that after three days of high temperatur­es, high winds and low humidity, some respite came with dropping temperatur­es Sunday morning. That allowed for about 650 firefighte­rs supported by water-dumping aircraft to establish a perimeter around the fire that started in Zamora’s Sierra de la Culebra. Authoritie­s warned there was still danger that an unfavorabl­e shift in weather could revive the blaze that caused the evacuation of 18 villages.

Spain has been on alert for an outbreak of intense wildfires as much of the country swelters under record temperatur­es for June. Experts link the abnormally hot period for Europe to climate change. Thermomete­rs have risen above 104 F in many Spanish cities throughout the week — temperatur­es usually expected in August.

A lack of rainfall this year combined with gusting winds have produced ideal conditions for the fires.

“The fire was able to cross a reservoir some 500 meters wide and reach the other side, to give you an idea of the difficulti­es we faced,” Juan Suárez-Quiñones, an official for Castilla y León region, told Spanish state television TVE.

There have been no reports of lives lost, but the flames reached the outskirts of some villages both in Zamora and in Navarra.

In North Central Navarra, authoritie­s have evacuated some 15 small villages as a precaution, as the high temperatur­es in the area are not expected to drop until Wednesday.

Germany has also seen numerous wildfires in recent days following a period of intense heat and little rain. The national weather agency said the mercury reached 102.6 F in the eastern cities of Dresden and Cottbus on Sunday.

Strong winds have been fanning a blaze near the town of Treuenbrie­tzen, about 30 miles southwest of Berlin, prompting officials to order three villages evacuated Sunday.

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