Cerberus: 4,000 evacuated in La Palma due to 'out of control' wildfire as Europe is to get hotter

The Cerberus heatwave continues to grip Europe, as China, Japan and America struggle with sweltering temperatures, ITV News' Neil Connery reports

More than 4,000 people have been evacuated as a fire rages “out of control” in La Palma, as the scorching Cerberus heatwave continues to grip Europe.

“The fire has spread very fast,” Canary Islands regional president Fernando Clavijo said. “The fire is out of control.”

He said some residents did not want to abandon their homes and he appealed for people to heed the calls for evacuation.

The blaze ripped through about 4,600 hectares of the tinder-dry terrain.

Officials warned the situation could worsen because of shifting winds at night.

There are 10 aircraft battling the fire, and water-dropping planes are expected to arrive.

Aemet, the Spanish state weather agency, says another heatwave is expected to start on Sunday with highest temperatures yet to come.

The 'Cerberus' heatwave is already scorching European tourist destinations but it's set to get hotter with the mercury forecast to top 40 degrees elsius in the region.

On Saturday, Greek authorities shut the Acropolis in Athens for the second day in a row between midday and early evening.

The closure of the Acropolis left many tourists in the lurch. Credit: AP

Red Cross staff handed out bottled water to tourists wilting in long lines hoping to beat the closure and scale the steps up to the gleaming Parthenon temple as temperatures were expected to peak above 40C in the Greek capital.

Others who beat the closing time were elated despite the heat, like Sylvia from Colombia, who said she came prepared.

“We have water, we have some ventilators,” she told the AP. “And I think it’s always an amazing experience to be here.”

Red Cross coordinator Ioanna Fotopoulou said paramedics on hand administered first aid to a number of tourists exhibiting symptoms of dehydration and experiencing fainting spells.

In Italy, the country’s health ministry warned residents of 10 cities from Bologna to Rome to avoid being out in the midday heat due to extreme temperatures.

The same warning has been issued to another five cities in Sicily, Sardinia and Puglia for this weekend.

Temperatures in the country are expected to reach 12C above average in some areas this weekend.

How hot has it been?

  • 44 C  -Antalya, Turkey

  • 41C - Athens, Greece 

  • 38C - 40C - Sardinia, Sicily and Puglia, Italy

  • 38.6 C - Plzen-Bolevec ,  Czech Republic

  • 35 C - Rome, Italy

  • 35C - Warsaw

On the island nation of Cyprus, in the southeastern Mediterranean, people clustered under air conditioning units and cooling fans set to full blast, as midday temperatures inland were forecast to hit a high of 43C.

In the capital, Nicosia, more than two dozen elderly people sought refuge at a dedicated heat shelter the municipality reserves for summer heat waves.

In the northwestern Turkish cities of Edirne, Kırklareli and Tekirdag, 48 people were taken to hospital with symptoms of heat stroke in the past two days, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg weighed in on the high temperatures in a post on Twitter, saying global heat records should serve as an urgent wake-up call.

“Last week we experienced the hottest days ever recorded, many days in a row. We are also experiencing record high sea level temperatures and record low ice levels. This is an emergency.”

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…