Hot weekend for Europe, officials warn of extreme fire risk

People are flocking to parks and pools across Western Europe for a bit of respite from an early heat wave that saw the mercury rise above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in France and Spain

ByThe Associated Press
June 18, 2022, 11:10 AM
People swim in the river Limmat at Letten, in Zurich, Switzerland, Saturday, June 18, 2022. People flocked to parks and pools across Western Europe on Saturday for a bit of respite from an early heat wave that saw the mercury rise above 40 Cs (104 F)
People swim in the river Limmat at Letten, in Zurich, Switzerland, Saturday, June 18, 2022. People flocked to parks and pools across Western Europe on Saturday for a bit of respite from an early heat wave that saw the mercury rise above 40 Cs (104 F) in France and Spain, and highs of 38 C (100.4 F) in Germany. (Michael Buholzer/Keystone via AP)
The Associated Press

BERLIN -- People flocked to parks and pools across Western Europe on Saturday for a bit of respite from an early heat wave that saw the mercury rise above 40 C (104 F) in France and Spain, and highs of 38 C (100.4 F) in Germany.

Officials warned of wildfires across the western Mediterranean region as high temperatures and a long dry spell made for combustible conditions.

The European Commission's Copernicus Emergency Management Service said the fire risk was “extreme” and “very extreme” in much of Spain, the Rhone river valley in France, Sardinia, Sicily and parts of mainland Italy.

The 27-nation bloc has put 12 firefighting planes and a helicopter on standby to assist countries struggling with major blazes this summer.

Meteorologists in France described the situation as “really exceptional” and predicted that a peak of 43 C (109.4 F) could be reached Saturday before thunderstorms bring cooler weather in from the Atlantic.

Experts say the early heat wave is a sign of what's to come as climate change makes extreme temperatures normally seen only in July and August more likely in June too.

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