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HeatWave Triggers Wildfires in Parts of Europe

A fire helicopter flew across the Leiria region of Portugal to cope with a fire in the region on July 13, 2022.

Portugal, Thousands of firefighters struggled to quell the blaze that engulfed parts of Portugal and the west of Spain on Wednesday (13/7). The fires threatened a number of villages and disrupted holiday periods for tourists amid a heat wave that caused temperatures to rise above 45 degrees Celsius in some parts of Europe.

Reporting from VOA Indonesia, In France, hundreds of firefighters with the support of six firefighting aircraft are battling fires in the southwestern region of the country. The fires in France have triggered the evacuation of thousands of people camping, said Gironde police official Fabienne Buccio.

In the Santiago de Guarda area of Leiria District, Portugal, a resident of Albertina Francisco struggled to stem her tears when remembering her village that had been engulfed in red.

"The situation is very difficult," said Francisco, 42. "Neither side helped. The firefighters and planes (firefighters) have just arrived. The country should give us more help."

Some residents appeared to be trying to evacuate their pets and help firefighters put out the fire.

In Leiria, the fire has scorched as much as 3,000 hectares of land so far. Authorities have blockaded a number of streets. Strong winds have made it difficult for firefighters to put out the blaze. Portugal's most important expressway, connecting Lisbon and Porto, was also closed due to fires in the northern region.

The Portuguese government has deployed nearly 900 firefighters to cope with the disaster in Leiria. The number of firefighters in Portugal alone is only 2,841 personnel with the support of 860 firefighting vehicles.

In the Algarve, a southern region of Portugal popular as a tourist spot, a fire broke out in the City of Faro and extended to the area of the luxury resort of Quinta do Lago. Videos circulating on social media showed the fire had approached a number of villas at the resort as well as burning palm trees and parts of the golf course.

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