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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Heat wave, drought increase fire risk in Europe

MADRID ( Associated Press) – Prolonged droughts in several Mediterranean countries, a heat wave that reached Germany last week and high fuel costs for hydrant planes have raised fears across Europe.

And the boreal summer is just starting.

Drought covers a good part of the continent, said Kathelijn Stuf, professor of environmental science at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. The potential for fires is “very serious across Europe”.

Last summer, fires covered more than 11,000 square kilometers (4,250 mi), an area four times the size of Luxembourg. Half the loss occurred within the European Union.

And experts say European fires are affecting not only the south’s hottest countries.

He said, “What scientists are giving us is that[the fire]is clearly spreading to the north, and in countries like Britain, Germany and the Scandinavian countries, we should expect more fires in the future.” ,” They said. Katherine Gamper, climate change adaptation specialist at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

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Fires in Spain have destroyed thousands of hectares of forest, although a recent sharp drop in temperature is helping firefighters douse the flames.

Spain’s problems began with a heat wave in spring, the first in 20 years, with temperatures in many cities above 40 degrees, more typical of August.

Neighboring Portugal recorded its warmest May in nearly a century, and France had the record-keeping warmest.

“As a result of climate change, heat waves are starting earlier and becoming more frequent and severe due to record concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases,” the World Meteorological Organization said last week. “What we see today is a foreshadowing of the future.”

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Despite planning, early warning monitoring and forecast modeling, fire preparedness remains extremely difficult. The EU is expanding a shared set of aircraft and helicopters to provide aid across borders and is looking forward to partnering with non-EU countries.

“Forest fires are very difficult to predict,” said OECD climate adaptation analyst Marta Urbinolo.

“We know that weather forecasts forecast a particularly hot and dry summer of 2022, possibly over 2020 and 21, which was the driest and hottest summer in Europe,” he said. “We can estimate that the risk of wildfires in Europe may be very high during the summer.”

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Gatopoulos from Athens and Hernán Munoz Ratto from Barcelona reported.

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Giles is on Twitter @ciarangiles and Gatopoulos @dgatopoulos . are as

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