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Unseasonal heat sparks dozens of wildfires in Spain



After unusually high temperatures of 30 Celsius (86F) in some parts of northern Spain on Friday 28 October, vegetation was turned into dry fuel. Numerous wildfires erupted. This raises concern about Europe’s changing weather patterns.

According to emergency services, there were 40 fires reported in the Basque Country, Asturias and Cantabria.

On Thursday, AEMET, the Spanish national weather agency forecast that October would be the hottest month since records began. It stated that every day except for October was warmer than the average temperature at this time of year.

Euskalmet, a Basque weather agency raised the wildfire risk in the region to high or moderate on Thursday, depending on its location.

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Jon Sanchez, a firefighter told Reuters that “We’ve got an Orange Alert today” after he stopped fighting fires in Sopela, Basque Province of Biscay.

In southern Europe, heatwaves with extreme heat and temperatures exceeding 40C (104F) occurred in the summer 2013. These heatwaves were part of an increase in temperatures scientists and climatologists often attribute to human activity.

According to Spanish government statistics, this was the worst year for wildfires in Spain. The blazes claimed 260,000 hectares (6642,500 acres).


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Data from the European Union’s Joint Research Centre shows that 775,941 ha were set ablaze by wildfires during this year’s wildfire seasons. This area is second in size ever recorded.

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