Heat wave scorches Europe as UK reaches record-breaking temperatures

By Sana Noor Haq, Hafsa Khalil, Angela Dewan, Aditi Sangal, Mike Hayes and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 1143 GMT (1943 HKT) July 20, 2022
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9:23 a.m. ET, July 19, 2022

37,000 people evacuated in France as third wildfire breaks out  

From CNN’s Joseph Ataman in Paris

People gather at Moulleau beach as the smoke rises from the forest fire in La Teste-de-Buch, south west France, on July 18.
People gather at Moulleau beach as the smoke rises from the forest fire in La Teste-de-Buch, south west France, on July 18. (Thibaud Moritz/AFP /Getty Images)

A third wildfire has broken out in the Gironde region of western France, prompting the evacuation of 500 more people, according to the prefecture of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Gironde.

After a “very difficult night” the prefecture tweeted on Tuesday morning a total of 19,300 hectares had already been burned by the two other fires in the Gironde.

A total of 37,000 people have been evacuated due to the three fires, the prefecture said, adding that more than 2,000 firefighters are deployed to fight the blazes.

The latest fire in the Vensac commune of Gironde had burned 70 hectares by Tuesday morning, according to the prefecture. 

None of the fires have been resolved, according to Commandant Matthieu Jomain, spokesperson of the Gironde Fire and Rescue Service. 

CNN affiliate BFMTV reported Tuesday morning that the city of Bordeaux, situated within the Gironde region, woke up to “thick smoke and a strong smell of burning” on Tuesday morning. 

Jomain asked members of the public to refrain from calling the fire service over the smoke, as there is “no risk to the population” of Bordeaux. He said there had been several thousand calls related to the smoke during the night. 

Vincent Ferrier, sub-prefect of Langon in the Gironde region, addressing journalists Tuesday morning, spoke of firefighters saving buildings from the fire in the Guillos commune when the flames were “at the door of the buildings.” In all, only one building had been destroyed by the fire, he added.

According to French meteorological agency Meteo-France, no region of France is under a red weather alert Tuesday, although 73 regions are under an orange warning

Meteo-France warned of a risk Tuesday of wildfires breaking out in the south of France due to strong “mistral” winds and areas suffering severe droughts, particularly in the Rhone valley.

9:23 a.m. ET, July 19, 2022

Extreme heat sears parts of western Europe

From CNN's Joseph Ataman, Jimmy Hutcheon, Xiaofei Xu, Zahid Mahmood, Sana Noor Haq, and Jorge Engels

Firefighters from the Brigadas de Refuerzo en Incendios Forestales (BRIF) tackle a forest fire at El Hoyo de Pinares on July 18, in Avila, Spain
Firefighters from the Brigadas de Refuerzo en Incendios Forestales (BRIF) tackle a forest fire at El Hoyo de Pinares on July 18, in Avila, Spain (Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

Extreme heat has engulfed parts of western Europe, with wildfires raging in France and Spain, a worsening drought in Portugal, and the third hottest day on record in the UK on Monday.

Fire has spread across 27,000 acres in the Gironde department of southwest France, forcing 32,000 people to evacuate, while nearby town, Cazaux recorded 42.4 degrees Celsius (108.3 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday -- the hottest it has seen since its weather station first opened more than 100 years ago in 1921 -- according to French national meteorological service Météo France.

In Spain, wildfires swept the central region of Castile and Léon, as well as the northern region of Galicia Sunday, Reuters reported. Fire also forced the state railway company to suspend service between Madrid and Galicia.

More than 70,000 hectares have been destroyed in Spain because of fires this year, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Monday, which “is almost double the last decade's average."

The country's Carlos III Health Institute on Monday estimated a cumulative total of over 510 heatwave-related deaths in Spain, based on statistical calculation of excess deaths.

Hundreds have also died in neighboring Portugal, where sweltering temperatures exacerbate a severe drought with the health ministry saying 659 mainly elderly people had died in the previous seven days, Reuters reported.

In total, over 1,100 people are thought to have died due to the ongoing heatwave in southern Europe.

On Tuesday, the blistering heat is expected to peak; the French capital Paris is expected to reach 39 degrees Celsius (102.2 degrees Fahrenheit), while the UK’s Monday temperature of 38.1 degrees, is expected to be surpassed, and be “even hotter” of potentially going over 40 degrees, according to the Met Office’s CEO Penelope Endersby.

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