AP

Spain, Germany battle wildfires amid unusual heat wave

Jun 19, 2022, 7:04 AM | Updated: Jun 20, 2022, 5:55 am

A firefighter works in the San Martin de Unx area in northern Spain, Sunday, June 19, 2022. Firefig...

A firefighter works in the San Martin de Unx area in northern Spain, Sunday, June 19, 2022. Firefighters in Spain are struggling to contain wildfires in several parts of the country which as been suffering an unusual heat wave for this time of the year. (AP Photo/Miguel Oses)

(AP Photo/Miguel Oses)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Firefighters in Spain and Germany struggled to contain wildfires on Sunday amid an unusual heat wave in Western Europe for this time of year.

The worst damage in Spain has been in the northwest province of Zamora, where over 30,000 hectares (74,000 acres) have been consumed, regional authorities said, while German officials said that residents of three villages near Berlin were ordered to leave their homes because of an approaching wildfire Sunday.

Spanish authorities said that after three days of high temperatures, high winds and low humidity, some respite came with dropping temperatures Sunday morning. That allowed for about 650 firefighters supported by water-dumping aircraft to establish a perimeter around the fire that started in Zamora’s Sierra de la Culebra. Authorities warned there was still danger that an unfavorable shift in weather could revive the blaze that caused the evacuation of 18 villages.

Spain has been on alert for an outbreak of intense wildfires as the country swelters under record temperatures at many points in the country for June. Experts link the abnormally hot period for Europe to climate change. Thermometers have risen above 40 C (104 F) in many Spanish cities throughout the week — temperatures usually expected in August.

A lack of rainfall this year combined with gusting winds have produced the conditions for the fires.

Authorities said that gusting winds of up 70 kph (43 mph) that changed course erratically, combined with temperatures near 40 C, made it very tough for crews.

“The fire was able to cross a reservoir some 500 meters wide and reach the other side, to give you an idea of the difficulties we faced,” Juan Suárez-Quiñones, an official for Castilla y León region, told Spanish state television TVE.

The fire in Zamora was started by a strike from an electrical storm on Wednesday, authorities said. The spreading fire caused the high-speed train service from Madrid to Spain’s northwest to be cut on Saturday. It was reestablished on Sunday morning.

Military firefighting units have been deployed in Zamora, Navarra and Lleida.

There have been no reports of lives lost, but the flames reached the outskirts of some villages both in Zamora and in Navarra. Videos shot by passengers in cars showed flames licking the sides of roads. In other villages, residents looked on in despair as black plumes rose from nearby hills.

In central-north Navarra, authorities have evacuated some 15 small villages as a precaution, as the high temperatures in the area are not expected to drop until Wednesday.

They also asked farmers to stop using heavy machinery that could unintentionally spark a fire.

“The situation remains delicate. We have various active fires due to the extremely high temperatures and high winds,” Navarra regional vice-president Javier Remírez told TVE.

Remírez said that some villages had seen some buildings damaged on their outskirts.

Some wild animals had to be evacuated from an animal park in Navarra and taken to a bull ring for safe keeping, authorities said.

Wildfires were also active in three parts of northeast Catalonia: in Lleida, in Tarragona and in a nature park in Garaf, just south of Barcelona.

Firefighters said that 2,700 hectares (6,600 acres) were scorched in Lleida. They added that they have responded to over 200 different wildfires just in Catalonia over the past week.

Germany has also seen numerous wildfires in recent days following a period of intense heat and little rain. The country’s national weather agency said the mercury reached 39.2 C (102.6 F) in the eastern cities of Dresden and Cottbus on Sunday.

Strong winds have been fanning a blaze near the town of Treuenbrietzen, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) southwest of Berlin, prompting officials to order three villages evacuated Sunday.

About 600 people in Frohnsdorf, Tiefenbrunnen and Klausdorf were told to immediately seek shelter at a community center.

“This is not a drill,” town officials tweeted.

More than 1,400 firefighters, soldiers and civil defense experts were deployed to tackle the blaze, which also affected a former military training area known to be contaminated with ammunition.

Officials expressed hope late Sunday that thunderstorms moving in from the west would help put out the fires.

___

Frank Jordans contributed to this report from Berlin.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

American Airlines put an unspecified number of employees on leave for their involvement in an incid...

Associated Press

American Airlines CEO calls removal of Black passengers from Phoenix flight ‘unacceptable’

American Airlines put an unspecified number of employees on leave for their involvement in an incident in which several Black passengers were removed from a flight in Phoenix.

3 days ago

FILE - Crystal Baziel holds the Pan-African flag Monday, June 19, 2023, during Reedy Chapel A.M.E C...

Associated Press

The beginner’s guide to celebrating Juneteenth

For more than one-and-a-half centuries, the Juneteenth holiday has been sacred to many Black communities. It marks the day in 1865 enslaved people in Galveston, Texas found out they had been freed — after the end of the Civil War, and two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Since it was designated a federal […]

4 days ago

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch ro...

Associated Press

Plane that did ‘Dutch roll’ on flight from Phoenix suffered structural damage, investigators say

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch roll” during a flight from Phoenix last month.

9 days ago

This photo provided by Randy Shannon shows Mooney Falls on the Havasupai reservation outside the vi...

Associated Press

Dozens report illness after trips to waterfalls near Grand Canyon

Dozens of hikers say they fell ill during trips to a popular Arizona tourist destination that features towering blue-green waterfalls deep in a gorge neighboring Grand Canyon National Park.

10 days ago

Mugshot of Rudy Giuliani, who was processed Monday, June 10, 2024, in the Arizona fake electors cas...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani posts $10K cash bond after being processed in Arizona fake electors case

Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and Donald Trump attorney, was processed Monday in the Arizona fake electors case.

12 days ago

FILE - White House former chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Wed...

Associated Press

Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows pleads not guilty in Arizona fake elector case

Former Donald Trump presidential chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump 2020 Election Day operations director Michael Roman pleaded not guilty Friday in Phoenix to nine felony charges for their roles in an effort to overturn Trump's Arizona election loss to Joe Biden.

16 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Spain, Germany battle wildfires amid unusual heat wave