Extreme heat sparks wildfires, health warnings

Home International Extreme heat sparks wildfires, health warnings
Extreme heat sparks wildfires, health warnings

ROME – Extreme heat was forecast across the globe yesterday, as wildfires raged and health warnings were in place in parts of Asia, Europe and North America. Firefighters battled blazes in parts of Greece and the Canary Islands while Spain issued heat alerts and some children in Italy’s Sardinia were told to stay away from sports.

From California to China, authorities warned of the health dangers brought by searing temperatures, urging people to drink water and shelter from the sun. “You can’t be in the street, it’s horrible,” said Lidia Rodriguez, 27, in Madrid.

Temperature records tumbled around the world, with new heat streaks set in China and the United States, and fresh highs in France. Beijing broke a 23-year-old record with 27 consecutive days of temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius, forecasters said.

Phoenix broke a similar record, in place for 49 years, with its 19th consecutive day of temperatures of 43.3 Celsius or higher, weather officials said. In southern France, a record 29.5C was recorded in the Alpine ski resort of Alpe d’Huez, while 40.6C had been recorded for the first time in Verdun in the foothills of the Pyrenees.

In a stark reminder of the effects of global warming, the UN’s World Meteorological Agency (WMO) said the trend showed “no signs of decreasing”.

“These events will continue to grow in intensity, and the world needs to prepare for more intense heatwaves,” John Nairn, a senior extreme heat adviser at the WMO told reporters in Geneva.

Northwest of the Greek capital Athens, columns of smoke loomed over the forest of Dervenohoria, where one of several fires around the capital and beyond was still burning.

The record-setting heat came as US climate envoy John Kerry met with Chinese officials in Beijing, with the world’s two largest polluters reviving stalled diplomacy on reducing planet-warming emissions. Speaking Tuesday at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi, Kerry called for “global leadership” on climate issues.  

– Nampa/AFP