Seven large fires burning in southern Europe


At least seven people have died in large fires across southern Europe in the last several days. Five firefighters were killed on fires in Spain, and two residents of the island of Sardina died; one while trying to save a herd of his farm animals and another herder died of a heart attack as he was trying to escape the flames.

From the BBC:

Thousands of firefighters are battling to bring under control summer wildfires that are spreading across parts of southern Europe.

At least seven people have died in fires that have struck Spain, France, Greece and the Italian island of Sardinia in the past few days.

Spain has been the hardest hit with at least seven major fires raging in the south and east. Strong winds have fanned the flames during the hot dry weather.

A European Union monitoring agency has warned that the risk of fire along the Mediterranean coastline remains high with soaring temperatures predicted for the coming days.

Spain’s interior ministry has put the country on maximum wildfire alert and is urging citizens to avoid starting fires in the current intense heat. About 1,500 people – including many British expatriates and holidaymakers – were evacuated from the Mojacar region of south-east Spain as flames threatened the area.

“It’s like a horror film round here,” said Benjamin Jackson, a 23-year-old British expat. “As far as you can see basically everything has burned down.”

Lives lost

Spain has suffered the heaviest death toll from the fires, losing five firefighters in the last four days. Four were killed in Catalonia on Tuesday, and the driver of a firefighters’ truck lost his life in Teruel province on Thursday.

UPDATE at 9:00 a.m. MT, July 24

Another firefighter in Spain dies.

The AP is reporting that a sixth firefighter has died in Spain, passing away in a hospital on Friday from his injuries.

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