Wildfires have caused a devastating toll in Algeria, Italy, and Greece, resulting in over 40 deaths and the evacuation of thousands. The entire island of Rhodes is in a state of emergency, and fires continue to rage in Corfu and Evia. The ongoing heatwave shows no signs of easing, with temperatures predicted to exceed 44°C (111°F) in some parts of Greece. High winds and dry vegetation are making firefighting efforts challenging.
In Algeria, 34 people lost their lives, including 10 soldiers trapped by flames during an evacuation in Bejaia. In Greece, an “extreme danger” of fire exists in six regions. A firefighting plane crash on Evia resulted in two pilot fatalities, and many have been evacuated from homes and resorts in the region. Sicily and Puglia in Italy also faced fires, with people forced to flee, and severe storms in the north caused fatalities.
Climate scientists attribute the intense heatwave to human-induced climate change. The situation is causing disruptions in air travel, with holiday firms cancelling flights to affected areas. Tourism, a significant industry in Greece and its islands, is being impacted, leading to concerns for the economy.
Italy experienced contrasting weather events, including deadly storms in the north and wildfires in various southern regions. Authorities are working tirelessly to combat the fires, and Italy’s Civil Protection minister is seeking assistance from the EU to increase firefighting resources.
Additionally, Corsica faced wildfires as gale-force winds contributed to the spread of flames, endangering villages in the French Mediterranean island.