On Tuesday the wildland fire danger north of London reached the “Very Extreme” stage which is three steps up from High which is followed by Very High and Extreme.
Highest ever temperatures were experienced in the United Kingdom. London Heathrow airport was among six locations to reach 104 degrees (40 Celsius) on Tuesday, shattering Britain’s all-time temperature record after the country declared a national emergency, well above the 2019 record of 101.7 degrees (38.7 Celsius).
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Twitter: “London Fire Brigade has just declared a major incident in response to a huge surge in fires across the capital today. This is critical: @LondonFire is under immense pressure.”
The agency listed 11 fires they were dealing with Tuesday at 3 p.m. local time. At least 10 involve vegetation:
- Thirty fire engines dealing with a grass fire on Pea Lane in Upminster.
- Fifteen fire engines tackling a fire on The Green in Wennington.
- Twelve fire engines tackling a fire involving garden fencing and trees on Uxbridge Road in Pinner.
- Ten fire engines tackling a restaurant fire on Green Lanes in Southgate.
- Eight fire engines tackling a grass fire on Oaks Road in Croydon.
- Eight fire engines tackling a grass fire on Ballards Road in Dagenham.
- Eight fire engines tackling a fire on The Broadway in Wembley.
- Six fire engines tackling a grass fire on Sunningfields Crescent in Hendon.
- Four fire engines tackling a grass fire on Chapel View in Croydon.
- Four fire engines tackling a fire on Sidcup Road in Eltham.
Other wildfires are also occurring in the UK.
Hundreds of deaths have been attributed to the heat in Spain and Portugal since last week, and wildfires have forced tens of thousands of people out of their homes there, as well as in France.
In Spain a man who was building a fireline with an excavator abandoned the equipment as it was overrun by fire. He fled through a field with his clothes on fire and was transported to a hospital.
In southwestern France, wildfires have destroyed at least 19,000 hectares (47,000 acres) as temperatures rose to 108.8 degrees (42.7 Celsius) Monday, when dozens of locations set all-time highs. Conditions eased Tuesday when a cool oceanic air mass arrived overnight.
In the United States night time temperatures are rising, which can affect fuel moisture, fuel temperature, and lower than average minimum relative humidity, all resulting in higher wildland fire danger. It also appears to be happening in Europe, at least recently.
From the Washington Post:
The United Kingdom not only posted its highest maximum daytime temperatures on record, but also its maximum overnight temperatures — with some locations not dipping below the upper 70s (25 to 26 Celsius). The lack of nighttime cooling was of grave concern to health officials as only a tiny percentage of British homes have air-conditioning.
By Wednesday, the core of the heat is forecast to focus over central and eastern Germany, Poland and southern Scandinavia as the heat dome is nudged eastward.
From Friday into the weekend, a new heat dome will build over southern Europe with extremely high temperatures over Spain, France and Italy, which have already endured multiple bouts of punishing heat this summer.
Met Office Chief of Science and Technology, Professor Stephen Belcher, reflects on the UK breaching 40°C for the first time pic.twitter.com/d57FGJx8To
— Met Office (@metoffice) July 19, 2022