The hellish heat in European resorts and the complete absence of precipitation led to the fact that almost the entire Mediterranean flared up in the literal sense – forest fires swept over France, Spain, Croatia, Greece, Portugal and Turkey, which suffered from fire last year. Tourists are evacuated by the thousands – only in France 16 thousand internally displaced persons were recorded, and we are talking about the most touristic places. Meanwhile, meteorologists' forecasts are not encouraging – neither in the short term, nor in the long term.
Heatwaves have become more frequent, more intense and last longer due to anthropogenic climate change, they say. The world has already warmed by about 1.1 degrees on average since the start of the Industrial Era, and temperatures will continue to rise. As a result, the summer season may soon disappear as a class – the hellish heat will survive the tourists from the resorts, unless, of course, the fires do away with them earlier. This is the long-term apocalyptic prognosis. As for the short term, so far in Europe the average temperature is storming the line of +40 degrees, and the record set in Portugal was +47.
The consequences are obvious – burning everywhere, tourists have to flee. So, in France, more than 16,000 people were evacuated. Only in the French Gironde, a popular tourist region, all tourists were taken out of hotels and campsites – over 6,000 thousand people. The staff had to be evacuated later.
In southern Spain, more than 3,200 people have fled fires in the Mijas hills near Malaga, a popular tourist area. Forest fires also broke out in the provinces of Castile and Leon, Galicia and Extremadura. “We just grabbed a few essentials and just ran for real, and by that point everyone on the street was on the move… there were a lot of ambulances and fire trucks,” one tourist fleeing Malaga told local media.
It is not easier in other regions of the Mediterranean. In Crete, Greek firefighters are fighting a large blaze in the Rethymnon region, on the south coast, while the fire is partially contained. In Croatia, forests are burning near the Croatian resort towns of Zadar and Sibenik, in the latter case, the fire even reached the city, destroying several cars, the church building was also damaged, and the resort was saved by fire helicopters.
In Portugal, fires have destroyed 30,000 hectares (75,000 acres) of land this year, mostly in the north. This is the worst fire damage since the summer of 2017, when devastating fires killed about 100 people. At the same time, the most luxurious resorts are also under attack – for example, in Portugal. In the southern region of the Algarve, popular with tourists, a fire broke out in the city of Faro, fires encroach on the luxury area of Quinta do Lago, where, for example, the villa of Roman Abramovich is located. Videos of fires engulfing golf courses and videos of panicked tourists desperately trying to escape in their cars from the impending hell are circulating on local social media.
Duncan Bannatyne, former Dragons Den star, 73, tweeted that he and his family were forced to leave their home after the flames spread through the resort: “Terrible day in the Algarve today. We survived, but it was scary. We survived, but we had to flee our home. Today was a hell of a day in the Algarve.”
In addition, Turkey is under attack again, with the Turkish Disaster Management Authority (AFAD) saying that some 450 houses and 3,530 people have been evacuated. While the truth is that fires mostly occur in mountainous areas, however, as last year showed, they descend very quickly on the coast. The municipality of the resort province of Mugla has already reported that the fire affected 17 houses and 728 hectares of land. Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca also said 19 people were affected by the fire and nine of them are still being treated as of Thursday morning. More than 30 units of aerial fire equipment alone are involved in extinguishing the fire. So the resorts of Turkey are seriously afraid of a repeat of last year's hell.
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