The 11 countries hit by wildfires this summer including holiday hotspots, Greece, France and Spain

Wildfires are continuing to rage in countries spread across the Mediterranean, destroying properties and threatening yet more lives. ITV News Senior International Correspondent John Irvine reports

Words by James Hockaday, ITV News Multimedia Producer

Wildfires have been raging in several countries in southern Europe and north Africa as a summer of record-breaking temperatures creates tinderbox conditions.

More than 40 people have died in the Mediterranean region, 34 of whom lost their lives in Algeria, where 8,000 firefighters have been deployed to tackle the inferno.

Meanwhile a state of emergency has been declared in the six areas of the Greek island of Rhodes, which has become a focal point of chaotic evacuations of British tourists.

Earlier this week Guillermo Rein, a professor of fire science at Imperial College London, said: “The intense heat of the summer dries vegetation and makes it very flammable, easier to catch fire."

He said strong winds "greatly accelerate" this spread, warning of "walls of flames that cannot be stopped by ground crews or slowed down by airtankers".

Wildfires during the summer are no new phenomenon in southern Europe, but Professor Rein, like many other scientists, warned climate change is "making them larger, faster, and harder to stop".

Here, ITV News details which countries have been hit by wildfires this summer.


New evacuations were ordered overnight on the Greek islands of Corfu, Evia and Rhodes, where thousands of tourists were moved to safety over the weekend.

Greece's heatwave has pushed temperatures above 40C, while strong winds have helped fires spread beyond hilly inland terrain towards more populated coastal areas.

Authorities have found the charred remains of a missing farmer in southern Evia, following the deaths of two Greek firefighting pilots who crashed during a low-altitude water drop.

Flames and smoke surround a local man in the Greek island of Rhodes. Credit: AP


A wildfire broke out in the hills surrounding Dubrovnik on Tuesday, where here water-dropping planes and more than 100 firefighters held back the blaze before it reached houses overnight.

The medieval walled city is a protected heritage site and Croatia’s best-known tourism destination.

Local media reported that the fires triggered landmines that are still scattered around the outskirts of the capital from Croatia's 1990s war of independence.


The bodies of two elderly people were found in a home that had been consumed by flames near the Palermo airport, on the island of Sicily.

The airport was temporarily closed earlier this week as flames spread dangerously close to the site's perimeter.

Firefighters have been battling wildfires across southern Italy as searing temperatures continue to scorch Sicily, Sardinia and Calabria, where multiple evacuations have been ordered.

Meanwhile in northern Italy, two people were left dead on Tuesday from falling trees as freak storms battered the region.

Residents look at flames burning in Capaci, near Palermo, in Sicily. Credit: AP


On Tuesday, July 18, firefighting helicopters flew over the Alpine village of Bitsch, near the Italian border, as a forest fire erupted.

More than 200 people were evacuated and the blaze still wasn't fully put out even during the weekend, having spread to 247 acres of woodland.


On Tuesday more than 500 firefighters scrambled to fight a blaze sweeping a national park near the popular tourist town of Cascais - 30 kilometres west of Lisbon.

The fire was brought under control by early Wednesday - helped by cooler temperatures - but firefighters are on standby watching for any further flare-ups as temperatures and winds rose again on Wednesday.

Two women watch a wildfire burning near houses in Alcabideche, outside Lisbon. Credit: AP


Several wildfires broke out on Tuesday along the Mediterranean coast of France, with thick smoke prompting the closure of both roads and railway tracks.

Fire crews have fought scattered fires, including one near Arles, in Provence, involving 300 firefighters and a water-dropping helicopter.

Authorities banned access to several forested areas along the French Riviera and in Corsica.


Fires raging through forests, mountain villages and towns in northern Algeria have left at least 34 people dead, 23 of whom were in the coastal region of Bejaia.

The north African nation's interior ministry said yesterday that 80% of the fires, which started on Sunday, had been put out, but some still remain.

Algerian news site TSA quoted the National Meteorological Office as saying temperatures that soared to around 50C in some regions were expected to drop from Tuesday.

Vehicles are left burnt out after raging wildfires, in Bouira, 100 km from Algiers. Credit: AP


A hospital and a dozen homes were evacuated as a precaution in the coastal town of Kemer, where firefighters battled a blaze raging through a woodland for a third day.

At least 10 planes, 22 helicopters and hundreds of firefighters were deployed to extinguish the fire as meteorologists warned temperatures could rise several degrees above seasonal averages.

Five helicopters with night-vision capabilities worked through the night, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. Authorities said residential areas were not under threat in the Kemer in the Mediterranean coastal province of Antalya.


Almost 29 million acres of land in Canada have been scorched by wildfires so far this year, with thick plumes of smoke drifting into the northern US and affecting air quality.

More than 460 of the country's 1,000 ongoing wildfires are happening in British Columbia - making it one of the worst hit provinces.

Many of the fires have been started by "dry" thunderstorms, which have not produced enough rain to extinguish the flames, CNN reports.


The Spanish island of Gran Canaria has been the centre of fierce wildfires, which have spread rapidly across the mountainous Tejeda area.

More than 500 acres of land have been destroyed by the inferno, according to Canarian Weekly.

On Saturday, July 15, around 500 people had to be evacuated from the Canary Island of La Palma.


Algeria's devastating wildfires have been carried by strong winds and spread to its eastern neighbour of Tunisia - prompting the closure of two border crossings.