The temperatures in Germany are probably going down a bit, but the risk of forest fires is far from over in this country. The situation on the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts is more dramatic.
After the preliminary heat records for 2022 on Tuesday in western Germany, new temperature records were also reported on Wednesday. According to the German Weather Service (DWD), for example, in Bad Mergentheim-Neunkirchen with 40.3 degrees, a new record for Baden-Württemberg. The provisionally highest state values were 39.8 degrees in Uelzen in Lower Saxony and in Huy-Pabstorf in Saxony-Anhalt – heat records for both states. “The values could still be broken by the evening,” said a DWD spokesman. Provisional state records were also recorded in Hamburg Neuwiedenthal (39.7 degrees) and in Krambek in Schleswig-Holstein (38.4 degrees).
Good news: a slight cooling from the west promises more pleasant days – for the time being. On Thursday it should cool down to a still warm 33 degrees in the east and north-east. In the southwest and west there were local showers and thunderstorms at 30 to 34 degrees on Wednesday. But the DWD warns that it could get hotter again at the weekend.
Either way, the basic problem remains: Despite the rain, it is too dry, and not only the DWD experts complain. The result is forest fires. According to the police, an area of 30,000 square meters burned near Sundern in Sauerland. Several fires occupied the rescue workers in the Saxon district of Meissen on Wednesday. “Please keep in mind that even the smallest spark can lead to a fire in the woods and fields, with potentially devastating consequences,” warned Baden-Württemberg’s Interior Minister Thomas Strobl (CDU). This is what happened near Alsdorf near Aachen, where a field fire spread to a farm on Tuesday evening, seven people were slightly injured. According to the city, a freight train triggered several fires in and around Trier – the cause was “a defect on a wheel, which caused flying sparks,” it said. The fire department brought the situation under control.
The situation in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic is more dramatic. On the latter, the French fire brigade is still fighting two fires that had spread further on Wednesday night. Around Landiras and Teste-de-Buch, 20,600 hectares of land have now been burned. A fire is also raging in Brittany.
Portugal’s civil defense ANEPC reported 25 forest fires as of Wednesday. Sad interim result: three dead, six seriously injured, more than 200 injured and 1055 people who had to leave their settlements.
According to the Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA), 98 percent of Portugal is affected by a severe to extreme drought. In addition, there has been extreme heat since July. This, it is suspected, is said to have led to excess mortality: between July 7th and 18th, the Ministry of Health reported 1063 more deaths than in the same period last year. However, there were significantly more deaths in June in Portugal than in the same month last year – without extreme heat.
There is also a fire in Italy: in Tuscany, the fire brigade continued to try to control a forest fire near Lucca on Wednesday. According to the fire department, 500 people had to be brought to safety from the flames. There were also fires in other regions of Tuscany, as well as near the Slovenian border near Gorizia – four villages on the Slovenian side were evacuated.
At least 16 firefighters were injured during operations in London, the deputy fire chief said. There have been more than 1,000 emergency calls, mostly because of the heat. Sadiq Khan, the capital’s mayor, spoke of the busiest day for the fire service since World War II. ansi with dpa/afp