Hot dry weather leads to numerous wildfires in Europe

Weather forecast, Europe, for July 18, 2022
Weather forecast, Europe, for July 18, 2022. WeatherOnlne. For reference, 40C is 104F, and 35C is 95F.

As Western Europe enters its second heat wave in the last 30 days the maximum temperatures are predicted to set records. Residents in the United Kingdom could experience conditions none of them have ever seen as the temperature rises to 104F degrees (40C) or more, prompting officials to issue the first ever red “extreme heat” warning for Monday and Tuesday.

Farther south in Europe, in southwest France on Saturday there were temperature peaks of close to 108F (42C), as the city of Biarritz broke a maximum temperature record. Nearly three-quarters of the country’s population, 45 million people, were affected by red or orange heat alerts in what is the earliest heat wave ever recorded in France.

The hot, dry weather has resulted in numerous wildfires in Britain, Spain, Portugal, and France over the last several days, bringing an earlier than usual start of the fire season. Firefighters in London, yes, London, have dealt with more than 800 vegetation fires since the start of last month to July 12.

wildfire in the Bordeaux region of southwest France
Firefighters work on a wildfire in the Bordeaux region of southwest France. AP.

Two blazes near the coastal town of Arcachon in France’s southwest Gironde region have burned more than 24,000 acres since Tuesday. About 3,000 firefighters assisted by firefighting aircraft are battling the blazes in southern France.

On Friday a pilot was killed while working on a fire in Northeast Portugal when an Air Tractor AT-802AF Fire Boss went down near the town of Torre de Moncorvo after scooping water on the Douro river.

Spain is also working on several large fires that have burned tens of thousands of acres. In southern Andalusia, 3,000 people were evacuated after a fire started near the village of Mijas in the province of Malaga. Around 200 firefighters supported by 18 aircraft are assigned to the incident.

European heat wave
BBC weather forecaster Ben Rich.

BBC weather forecaster Ben Rich explained that the current heat wave is caused by the jet stream shifting north and a portion of it breaking off to form a low pressure area west of Portugal, a cutoff low, with south winds pumping heat north into Western Europe including Spain, France and the UK.

Combined drought indicator Europe
Combined drought indicator last 10 days in June, 2022. European Commission’s Drought Observatory..

Much of Western Europe and the southern UK are in drought ranging from warning to alert levels, according to the European Commission’s Drought Observatory. The dry soils allow more surface heating and the result is record-setting temperatures and lower than average moisture in the vegetation, establishing conditions that are conducive to large wildfires with high resistance to control.

The video below is a summary of current wildfires in Western Europe.

Typos, let us know HERE, and specify which article. Please keep in mind our commenting ground rules before you post a comment.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

10 thoughts on “Hot dry weather leads to numerous wildfires in Europe”

  1. Years prior, the weather man previously displayed a nice picture of sun. Today, it is the intense red and orange. Identify when your being sold fear. Call it TV “programming” for a reason.

  2. Weather records in the UK go back centuries.

    From the BBC today:

    “The highest recorded temperature in the UK was 38.7C in Cambridge in 2019 and BBC Weather presenter Matt Taylor said there is now a realistic possibility of hitting 40C in the UK.”

  3. It has been said, perhaps a bit cynically but not necessarily without merit, that “one can correlate anything with anything,” and that “anecdote is the singular of data.”

    I wonder how the stats have actually been analyzed as opposed to the media jumping to conclusions too hastily (“If it bleeds, it leads.”).

  4. Anecdotally I can say as a hotshot things appear to be getting worse. But if you’d look at the data you would find that temperatures have been steadily increasing since the 70s, with the warmest years on record having occurred in the last 8 years (NOAA/NASA). Additionally, fire size and severity have been steadily getting worse. But by all means, keep your head in the sand and choose to ignore the science if you want. The rest of us, however, would prefer a planet that is inhabitable for our children and grandchildren.

  5. Exactly. Seems too many are looking for conspiracies in order to deny reality.

  6. I can smell the ignorance, like I can smell out a smoke in the distance.

  7. It was 95 degrees in Yakutsk Russia this week and continuous 80s for the next two weeks. This is where it reaches -80 or 90 below in the winter. Lord knows what’s happening to all the locked up methane in the permafrost!

  8. Yeh,
    Science and demonstrable, centuries old, records are fake news. ?

  9. Are you saying that temperature records aren’t being broken and fires aren’t burning just because this information is being reported on the news?

  10. I’ve fought fire in Portugal (Algarve), the place rips!! It’s all coastal brush fuel types with mixed long needle pine and Eucalyptus. Very similar to parts of ONCC and OSCC.

Comments are closed.