Temperatures top 45C across Turkey, Greece and Italy as heatwave fuels deadly wildfires
ITV News Reporter Sangita Lal reports on the soaring temperatures in Turkey as deadly wildfires continue to spread
A heatwave across southern Europe is fuelling deadly wildfires in Turkey and threatened the under-pressure national grid in Greece.
At least eight people have died as wildfires raged along Turkey's coast for a sixth day while tourists were evacuated from coastal resorts.
There is expected to be little respite from searing temperatures that have topped 45C (113 F) across inland areas of Turkey and Greece in recent days. Temperatures are expected to remain high for most of the week.
In Greece, workers with health conditions have been allowed to take time off work while coal-fired power stations marked for retirement have been brought back into service to shore up the national grid buckling under the demand for air conditioning.
People flee as flames engulf Turkey's Mugla region
Dann Mitchell, a professor of climate science at the University of Bristol, said that the heatwave in southeast Europe “is not at all unexpected, and very likely enhanced due to human-induced climate change.”
“The number of extreme heat events around the world is increasing year on year, with the top 10 hottest years on record all occurring since 2005,” Mitchell told The Associated Press.
“This year, we have seen a number of significant events, including a particularly dramatic heatwave in western Canada and the U.S., that was extreme even for current levels of climate change,” Mitchell said.
“These black swan events have always happened, but now they sit on the background of a hotter climate, so are even more deadly.”
Italy and Croatia were experiencing storms as well as wildfires.
A small tornado in Istria, on Croatia’s northern Adriatic coast, toppled trees that destroyed several cars, hours before a large fire erupted outside the nearby resort of Trogir, threatening homes and the local power supply.
Some 30 people were treated for light smoke inhalation in Italy’s coastal city of Pescara, after flames tore through a nearby pine forest.
“That zone of pine forest is a nature reserve, and it’s completely destroyed. It brings tears to see it. The environmental damage is incalculable. This is the heart of the city, its green lung and today it is destroyed,” Pescara Mayor Carlo Masi said.
Cyprus, recovering from a major wildfire last month, kept water-dropping planes on patrol to respond to fires as they broke out.
“If you don’t react right away with a massive response to any outbreak, things can turn difficult quickly,” forestry service chief Charalambos Alexandrou, told state-run media.
“The conditions are war-like.”