The brutal heat incinerates Europe

The brutal heat incinerates Europe
The brutal heat incinerates Europe

Extreme heat waves and wildfires continued to rage in southern Europe on Wednesday, a day after the highest temperature in Greece reached 47.1 degrees Celsius.

Greece is experiencing one of the worst heat waves in decades and the country remains on high alert as it continues to fight wildfires across the country.

Heat warnings have also been announced in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Italy, Romania, Serbia and Turkey. In recent days, deadly wildfires have engulfed parts of Turkey and forced the evacuation of tourist resorts.

Residents in the Greek capital, Athens, were warned to stay home with their windows closed due to poor air quality after a wildfire broke out in a suburb north of the capital on Tuesday. The intense heat has forced the Ministry of Culture to close the Acropolis and other ancient sites from noon to 5:00 pm local time this week.

The Greek Fire Service said Wednesday that it had been called out in 78 wildfires in the past 24 hours. A large fire raged on the large island of Evia, northeast of Athens, on Wednesday.

Wildfires also continued to burn in parts of Turkey on Tuesday, triggered by the intense heat. Fires in Mugla and Antalya provinces have killed at least eight people as of Tuesday, Turkish state news agency Anadolu reported.

The heatwave in the region is on the heels of devastating wildfires last week in Spain, Greece and the Italian island of Sardinia, and less than a month after catastrophic flooding in Northern Europe that claimed more than 200 lives.

Experts say extreme weather events such as floods in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as recent heatwaves and wildfires in Canada and the United States, are a sign of the effects of climate change.

In southern Europe, droughts are becoming more frequent and severe, and environmental authorities warn that the region is at greatest risk from the effects of climate change on the continent.

Forecasters told CNN that the current heatwave in the region will last until at least Friday.

The Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS), an EU program, said on Wednesday that the Mediterranean region is becoming a "bushfire hot spot" and warned that already burning fires are releasing large amounts of smoke into the atmosphere.

"CAMS data show that in Turkey and southern Italy, emissions and intensity of forest fires are increasing rapidly, and countries such as Morocco, Albania, Greece, North Macedonia and Lebanon are also affected," the press release said.

"Plumes of smoke from fires are clearly visible on satellite imagery crossing the Eastern Mediterranean basin from southern Turkey."

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