The current heat wave in Spain registers temperatures reaching 40 degrees and more in several regions of the country. On the Canary Island La Palma, firefighters are trying to put out the fire that started on Saturday, July 15, and has forced the evacuation of thousands of people and consumed more than 4,500 hectares of forest.
Temperatures between 5 and 15 degrees above normal are what several regions of Spain are experiencing this Monday, July 17, and they are expected to increase on Tuesday.
“In large areas of the center, east and south of the Peninsula, and in the Balearic Islands, 40 ºC will be exceeded in the coming days, and even 42 – 44 ºC locally. We have classified these temperatures as “unusual”, “the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) tweeted on Monday.
The current heat wave is the third in Spain since the beginning of the year and this time it should last until Wednesday and temperatures start to drop from Thursday. The phenomenon is characterized by little cooling at night with temperatures of at least 25 degrees in some Spanish cities.
More than half of Spain has been placed on a yellow and red alert for heat, especially in Andalusia, to the south, in the provinces of Córdoba and Jaén.
Cities such as Granada and Seville registered temperatures of at least 42 degrees and are on orange alert.
In Italy, an anticyclone called ‘Charon’ pushes very warm air from Africa towards Spain and southern Europe. In addition, atmospheric stability causes heat to accumulate with almost no ventilation.
Italy is also affected by the anticyclone, its maximum temperatures should reach 47 degrees in the next few days on the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Historical records could also be broken in several regions.
Firefighters fight to control the fire on La Palma
The fire that broke out on Saturday in the northwest of the island of La Palma, in the Canary Islands, continues to be fought by firefighters. The fire is still active on three fronts, with one of particular concern as it advances in the La Caldera de Taburiente National Park, an area difficult to access, but without inhabitants.
The Ministry of the Interior reported that its evolution was “favorable” and that it has been able to decrease in intensity with the drop in temperatures in the area. Between Sunday and Monday, temperatures were between 23 and 26 degrees on the island.
The Government put an end to the alert situation in El Hierro, La Gomera, La Palma (except in Puntagorda), Tenerife and Gran Canaria where the situation is now on Pre-alert.
Some 85 soldiers from the Military Emergency Unit are on the ground and help extinguish the fire along with various planes and helicopters that fly over the area to drop water.
According to the authorities, some 4,000 hectares burned and 4,000 people were evacuated, although most of them were able to return to their homes on Sunday. 78 people will continue to be evicted by the fire.
In 2022, the country suffered half a thousand fires that burned more than 300,000 hectares, according to the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS). Since the beginning of the year, some 68,000 hectares have already been devoured.
With EFE and local media