The heatwave that has affected much of Spain and now spreading to northern Europe, is leaving a scorched Spanish landscape in its wake.
Spanish authorities are battling over 30 major forest and scrub fires with firefighting teams from across the country supported by water-bombing planes and helicopters in an effort to contain them.
Spanish Health authorities estimate the number of fatalities due to the heatwave at over 500 people.
Yesterday, Monday 19th July, the body of a 69-year-old sheep farmer was found in the same place that a 62-year-old part time firefighter had died when he was trapped by flames in the province of Zamora in the autonomous community of Castilla y Leon.
Some 220 square kilometres of forest and scrub had been devoured in the region.
Passengers on a train through Zamora got a frightening, close look at the blaze, when their train halted in the countryside. Video of the unscheduled — and unnerving — stop showed about a dozen passengers in a carriage looking aghast as they looked out at the flames encroaching on both sides of the track.
— Francisco Seoane Pérez (@PacoSeoanePerez) July 18, 2022
Speaking on a visit to the badly effected autonomous community of Extermedura, where firefighters are battling three major blazes, the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, said: “Climate change kills – It kills people, it kills our ecosystems and biodiversity.”
Teresa Ribera, Spain’s minister for ecological transition, described her country as “literally on fire” as she attended EU talks on climate change in Berlin.
She warned of “terrifying prospects still for the days to come” — after more than 10 days of temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius, cooling only moderately at night.
According to the investigative website CIVIO some 235,630 forest fires were recorded in Spain between 2001 and 2015 burning 1,676,812 hectares of land – an area larger than the combined regions of Murcia, Asturias, Navarra, Madrid, and Basque Country.
According to the Spanish State Meteorological Agency AEMET temperatures across Spain are expected to remain in the high 30s for much of the peninsular for the remainder of the month – and August to come.