Mediterranean inferno: Wildfires spread across Southern Europe and North Africa

Extreme heat and fires in Europe and North Africa
The fires in a NASA image
Fires in france
Portugal and the fires of every summer
A country ravaged by fire and heat
In Spain 510 people have died because of extreme temperatures
36 fires at a time
Fires all around Spain and Portugal
Morocco’s fires
Unprecedented drought
After the fire
Italy’s worst drought in 70 years
Smoke over Cinecittà
A bad summer
Broadening the lens
50% more fires in the future
Extreme heat and fires in Europe and North Africa

The climate crisis is showing its fiercest face this summer. An unprecedented heatwave sweeps across Europe and North Africa, and the fires are massive in countries like Portugal, Spain, France, Croatia, Morocco or Tunisia.

The fires in a NASA image

This is what a map created by NASA looks like. The multiple red spots are active fires that are happening in real-time.

Image: NASA / Firms (Fire Information for Resource Management System)

Fires in france

This image was taken in Louchats, southwestern France. As reported by Le Parisien on July 18, in the Gironde department (whose capital is Bordeaux), the flames destroyed more than 14,000 hectares.

Portugal and the fires of every summer

In Portugal, every summer wildfires are expected to arrive and with them the despair of the inhabitants of the affected towns. In the image, a grief-stricken neighbor in Albergaria-a-Velha.

A country ravaged by fire and heat

Nevertheless, this particular summer, Portugal is experiencing extreme temperatures never seen before. The Portuguese newspaper Público assures that since the beginning of July more than 200 people died due to the heat. The thermometer has reached 44 degrees Celsius in the town of Almeirim, north of Lisbon.

In Spain 510 people have died because of extreme temperatures

Spain is also experiencing extreme heat. The Health Ministry estimates that 510 people have died because of high temperatures since July 10.

36 fires at a time

Newspaper El País took stock of the catastrophic situation in Spain: 36 active sources of fire and more than 30,000 hectares were devastated by the flames.

Fires all around Spain and Portugal

In Portugal and Spain, wildfires have occurred all around both countries. To the north, as in this image of the Galician province of Lugo, or to the south; inland or near the coast.

Morocco’s fires

Extreme temperatures have also triggered a wave of fires in Morocco. The image is from Alcazarquivir, in the Larache region.

Unprecedented drought

Morocco is experiencing its worst drought in 40 years. With temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celsius (over 110 degrees Fahrenheit), wildfires have also taken place in the north of the country.

After the fire

The images of the fires are tremendous, but it is the landscape after the fire has been put out that shows the dimension of the human and ecological tragedy that wildfires imply.

Italy’s worst drought in 70 years

In Italy people have also endured a wave of fires this July after the alert for a drought that the Italian media has described as "the worst in 70 years."

Smoke over Cinecittà

The effect of the fires reached some neighborhoods in Rome, such as Cinecittà (in the image).

A bad summer

What was supposed to be a summer to celebrate the end of the pandemic has turned into a nightmare due to the war, the climate crisis and the warnings of health experts that say the pandemic is nowhere near over. In the image, you can see tourists in the French town of Landiras.

Broadening the lens

If we widen the focus in NASA’s wildfire world map, it shows how the entire planet (and especially Africa) is suffering from the fires, not just Mediterranean Europe.

Image: NASA / Firms (Fire Information for Resource Management System)

50% more fires in the future

The UN warned in a February 2022 report that if the climate crisis continues and no action is taken, fires will increase by 14% in 2030, 30% by the end of 2050 and 50% by the end of the century.

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