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Portugal fires - live: Fears of new wildfires as blistering 37C heat sparks warnings over extreme weather

Though the Odemira wildfire was tamed on Wednesday morning, 100 municipalities remain at maximum risk

Andy Gregory,Stuti Mishra,Maroosha Muzaffar
Thursday 10 August 2023 07:20 BST
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Firefighters battle wildfires in Portugal as thousands forced to evacuate

Portuguese authorities fear new wildfires could spark as blistering 37C heat has provoked extreme weather warnings.

Yellow warnings - the lowest level on a three-tier scale - will remain in place across the Beja and Faro districts until 10 August at the minimum, with the Met Office anticipating that, on Friday, temperatures will reach highs of 37C across Faro in the Algarve region of southern Portugal.

Vitor Vaz Pinto, regional commander of the emergency and civil protection authority (ANEPC), said on Wednesday the wildfire in the municipality of Odemira, in the Alentejo region, was brought under control at 10.15am.

The wildfire started on Saturday, but high temperatures and strong winds hampered efforts by more than 1,000 firefighters and water-dousing planes to extinguish the flames, which destroyed some 8,400 hectares, according to preliminary data.

For now, firefighters, water-dousing planes and bulldozers being used to prevent the spread of the fire will remain on the ground and then gradually be demobilised, Vaz Pinto said.

Temperatures have now dropped along the Portuguese coast but remain high across the countryside, with around 100 municipalities remaining at maximum risk of wildfires.

The biggest blaze, in the northeast, burned about 600 hectares (1,500 acres) and required the evacuation of 150 people.

Thanks for following our live updates, we are pausing our coverage for now.

Katy Clifton10 August 2023 07:20

Norway river dam partly collapses after floods

Following days of intense flooding, a dam situated on Norway’s Gloma River succumbed to collapse. The Gloma River stands as Norway’s lengthiest watercourse.

Visuals broadcasted on television unveiled water gushing through a rupture in the 45-year-old Braskereidfoss power dam.

Halfslund, the utility company overseeing the dam, noted that the water’s outflow exhibited an organised pattern in the aftermath of the breach.

A spokesperson from the police department said that there were no immediate indications of substantial flooding downstream.

Earlier on, authorities had contemplated detonating one of the dam’s hatches but ultimately dismissed the idea due to concerns about managing the resultant explosion.

Maroosha Muzaffar10 August 2023 07:10

Climate change is contributing to extreme weather, UN meteorologist Lorenzo Labrador says

According to Lorenzo Labrador, a scientific expert at the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization, the impact of climate change amplifies the “intensity” of extreme weather occurrences.

While pinpointing a direct connection between any individual event and climate change remains challenging, alterations in the global climate elevate both the likelihood and the magnitude of such incidents.

Mr Labrador emphasised that the ongoing heatwaves and wildfires across the globe transpire “in the context of the hottest July ever recorded”.

“The temperatures in July were 0.72 degrees Celsius warmer than the 1991 to 2020 period and 1.5 degrees warmer than the pre-industrial era,” he said.

In light of the extreme weather, Mr Labrador urged countries to “drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon emissions.”

“As the scientific community has agreed, we have about a seven-year window of opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to about half of what they are now,” he stressed.

Maroosha Muzaffar10 August 2023 06:45

Climate crisis made July hotter for four out of five humans on Earth

Human-caused global warming made July hotter for four out of five people on Earth, with more than 2 billion people feeling climate change-boosted warmth daily, according to a flash study.

More than 6.5 billion people, or 81% of the world’s population, sweated through at least one day where climate change had a significant effect on the average daily temperature, according to a new report issued Wednesday by Climate Central, a science nonprofit that has figured a way to calculate how much climate change has affected daily weather.

“We really are experiencing climate change just about everywhere,” said Climate Central Vice President for Science Andrew Pershing.

Climate crisis made July hotter for four out of five humans on Earth

In the US, 22 US cities had at least 20 days when climate change tripled the likelihood of extra heat

Maroosha Muzaffar10 August 2023 06:18

UK needs ‘cultural shift’ over heatwaves, says British Red Cross

The UK needs a “cultural shift” in how people think about heatwaves, the British Red Cross has said, after polling revealed that more than a third of adults see it only as a future problem.

A European-wide scientific study recently estimated that more than 3,000 people died from heat in the UK last summer while the Office for National Statistics recorded about the same number of excess deaths for that period.

Scientists have described extreme heat as a “silent killer” as it is most lethal to people behind closed doors.

The over-75s and people with cardiovascular or respiratory illnesses are particularly at risk during periods of sustained heat as their bodies can lose the ability to cool down.

UK needs ‘cultural shift’ over heatwaves, says British Red Cross

Scientists have described heat as a silent killer and one of the most lethal aspects of rising global temperatures.

Maroosha Muzaffar10 August 2023 05:43

ICYMI: Portugal wildfires see thousands of people evacuated amid 46C heatwave

Hundreds of firefighters are battling wildfires in Portugal where 1,400 people have been evacuated in a 46C heatwave.

The wildfire started on Saturday in the Odemira region on the west coast but it has since spread south towards the tourist hotspot of the Algarve.

Nine have reportedly been injured as a result of the fire.

High temperatures and strong winds have continued into Tuesday with two active fronts of the fire have now been confirmed – with one spreading towards the picturesque Monchique village.

Portugal wildfires see thousands evacuated amid 46C heatwave

British holidays still going ahead despite flames hitting beauty spots on tourist trail

Maroosha Muzaffar10 August 2023 04:55

Wildfires in Portugal: Is it safe to travel to the Algarve right now?

Following wildfires near Cascais last month, Portugal is once again being hit by raging flames.

This time, blazes have broken out near the popular holiday region of the Algarve in southern Portugal.

The fire started on Saturday 5 August in the Odemira area north of the Algarve, and since then has swept south.

Some 800 firefighters have been brought in to tackle the flames, while more than 1,400 people have so far been evacuated from their homes.

Around 6,700 hectares of land have already been destroyed by the blaze, which has been difficult to control amid soaring temperatures and high winds.

Is it safe to travel to Portugal right now?

Wildfires have broken out near the popular holiday region

Maroosha Muzaffar10 August 2023 04:21

More than 1,400 people forced to flee flames

At least 1,400 people in Portugal were forced to leave villages and a camp site as a precaution, as more than 1,000 firefighters battled three major fires:

Temperatures soar in Iberia as wildfires force the evacuation of 1,400 in Portugal

Over 1,000 firefighters are battling a series of wildfires in Portugal as it and neighboring Spain experience several days of extreme summer heat with temperatures in many areas rising above 40 degrees Celsius (104 F)

Jane Dalton10 August 2023 04:00

Six killed in Hawaii wildfires

Wildfires fanned by the winds of a distant hurricane killed at least six people and caused extensive damage on Hawaii’s Maui island on Wednesday, officials said.

The western side of the island, including the tourist resort of Lahaina, was nearly cut off, with only one highway still open, as officials told of widespread devastation.

West Maui was closed to everyone except emergency workers.

Panicked people fleeing the flames posted videos and photos on social media showing apocalyptic clouds of smoke billowing up over formerly once-idyllic beaches and palm trees.

“Our main focus now is to save lives,” Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen said.

Jane Dalton10 August 2023 03:00

Portuguese countryside still suffering heatwave

Temperatures have now dropped along the Portuguese coast but remain high across the countryside, as firefighters, water-dousing planes and bulldozers being used to prevent the spread of the fire remain on the ground.

A huge blaze that erupted over the weekend, razing thousands of hectares of forest in southern Portugal, is now under control.

High temperatures and strong winds hampered efforts by more than 1,000 firefighters and water-dousing planes to extinguish the flames, which destroyed some 8,400 hectares, according to preliminary data.

Temperatures in many areas rose above 40C.

Jane Dalton10 August 2023 02:00

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