A heatwave spreading across Europe is fueling wildfires in Portugal, France and Spain. On Friday, hundreds more people were evacuated from Spain and France while a pilot fighting a fire in Portugal perished.
He was declared dead at the spot despite the fact that emergency services arrived at the collision site at 8 p.m. local time, according to authorities.
Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Costa tweeted about the pilot’s passing, expressing his sadness and sending his “deepest sympathies to family and friends.”
European towns have been set on fire by a sweltering heatwave, and authorities have issued heatwave warnings for the next several days.
Five regions in Portugal were on red alert as of Friday, and more than 1,000 firemen were putting out at least 17 fires, according to the authorities.
Despite a minor drop in temperature on Friday, authorities predict that certain locations will still see temperatures that are higher than 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) in the following days.
Wildfires continued to blaze in Southwestern France as well, forcing hundreds to evacuate, authorities said Friday.
Since Tuesday, more than 1,000 firefighters have been battling two major flames with the assistance of nine water-bombing planes.
According to officials, the fires have already consumed 7,300 hectares, with 2,000 hectares burning during the course of the night.
Firefighters said that a wildfire that started on Thursday and consumed at least 1,000 hectares was under control near the town of Tarascon in the southeast.
Nearly 10,000 people, many of them tourists, have had to flee France due to the flames since Tuesday.
In certain locations in Spain, temperatures have surged to 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius), which was recorded as early as 7:00 a.m. on Thursday.
The intensity and frequency of wildfires in Europe and throughout the world have frequently been linked by scientists to the speed at which climate change is taking place.
The World Meteorological Organization issued a warning on Friday that heatwaves might deteriorate air quality, particularly in urban areas.
At a news conference on Friday, a WMO official stated that the “stagnant atmosphere functions as a lid to contain atmospheric pollutants,” and that this had “adverse health implications, particularly for vulnerable populations.”