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‘Lucifer’ heatwave sees huge wildfires spread across Corsica and southern Europe – The Sun

FIREFIGHTERS are battling wildfires sweeping across Corsica and southern Europe amid the deadly “Lucifer” heatwave that has already claimed several lives on the continent.

French authorities have ferried firefighters and trucks from the mainland to Corsica to help extinguish a blaze that has been raging for days.

The raging inferno creeps perilously closer to homes and holiday villas near Calvi, in Corsica

The raging inferno creeps perilously closer to homes and holiday villas near Calvi, in Corsica

A firefighting plane dumps water on the wildfire raging in Corsica amid a heatwave seeping southern Europe

A firefighting plane dumps water on the wildfire raging in Corsica amid a heatwave seeping southern Europe

A man looks down the road as flames consume trees and bushes on both sides, creating a tunnel of smoke

A man looks down the road as flames consume trees and bushes on both sides, creating a tunnel of smoke

The regional authority for the southern part of the Mediterranean island warned on Friday that the fire had spread north and could take several days to put out.

Some 70 new firefighters and 15 vehicles arrived just before the weekend.

But local officials said rough terrain and exceptionally hot, dry weather were complicating efforts.

The fire broke out Wednesday in the Palneca forest, sparking dramatic evacuations from a popular hiking route and nearby towns at the height of the busy tourist season.

Fires this week have also threatened a seaside town south of Athens in Greece, and parts of southern Albania.

And many of the blazes have continued to rage as the heatwave shows no signs of letting up.

Firefighters douse flames approaching a road amid a huge cloud of smoke in Corsica

Firefighters douse flames approaching a road amid a huge cloud of smoke in Corsica

Surrounded by scorched earth, a building burns near Calvi, in the northern part of Corsica

Surrounded by scorched earth, a building burns near Calvi, in the northern part of Corsica

Swathes of southern Europe continued to swelter over Saturday and Sunday, with at least five deaths in Italy and Romania attributed to the extreme heat.

Unusually high temperatures are being recorded across an area spanning much of Spain and Portugal, southern France, Italy, the Balkans and Hungary.

The mercury has regularly risen above 40C across the affected areas, adding to the impact of an extended drought and wildfires that claimed 60 lives in Portugal last month.

Hospital admissions have spiked 15-20 per cent in Italy, where at least three people have died.



Italians longing for the beach have dubbed the hot spell “Lucifero”, or Lucifer.

The latest victim was a woman whose car was swept away overnight by an avalanche of water and mud as humid conditions near the Alpine ski resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo broke into torrential rain.

That tragedy follows the deaths on Thursday of two pensioners caught up in wildfires in the central region of Abruzzo and near Matera in the south of the country.

In Romania, two deaths were linked to the weather, including a farm worker who collapsed after working in fields in the north-east of the country.

A pair of Canadair firefighting planes drop water on a fire in Palneca, central Corsica

A pair of Canadair firefighting planes drop water on a fire in Palneca, central Corsica

Thick black smoke blankets a hillside in near Calvi, in Corsica, as wildfires continue to rage

Thick black smoke blankets a hillside in near Calvi, in Corsica, as wildfires continue to rage

Some 70 firefighters and 15 vehicles were sent from the French mainland on Friday to help battle the blaze in Corsica

Some 70 firefighters and 15 vehicles were sent from the French mainland on Friday to help battle the blaze in Corsica

And Spanish TV station TVE reported a 51-year-old man died as a result of the heat on the popular holiday island of Majorca.

In Italy, humidity and other factors are making it feel much hotter with the so-called “perceived” temperature in Campania, the region around Naples, estimated at a sweltering 55C on Friday.

In Rome, tourists have been risking recently introduced fines for splashing in the Eternal City’s fountains to cool off.

A firefighting plane drops water on a fire at Palneca on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica

A firefighting plane drops water on a fire at Palneca on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica

This house somehow seems to have escaped the worst of the blaze which scorched the ground around it in Biguglia, Corsica

This house somehow seems to have escaped the worst of the blaze which scorched the ground around it in Biguglia, Corsica

Another house surrounded by devastation following a fire in Biguglia, northern Corsica, last week

Another house surrounded by devastation following a fire in Biguglia, northern Corsica, last week

But there has yet to be any sign of visitors to southern Europe’s summer hotspots being deterred by the rising temperatures.

Tourists continued queuing on Saturday outside Florence’s Uffizi museum, which was forced to close Friday after its air conditioning broke down because of a lack of water from the dried up River Arno.

Health authorities in France have warned citizens to be particularly aware of the risks faced by the sick and the elderly.

A boy jumps into the Cijevna river to cool off near Tuzi as a heatwave hits Montenegro

A boy jumps into the Cijevna river to cool off near Tuzi as a heatwave hits Montenegro

Florence's Uffizi Gallery was temporarily closed to the public because of the heat

Florence’s Uffizi Gallery was temporarily closed to the public because of the heat

The country is still haunted by memories of a 2003 heatwave which resulted in an estimated 15,000 avoidable deaths among pensioners – some of whom had been left on their own by holiday-making relatives.

Scientists meanwhile warned that deaths due to extreme weather in Europe could increase 50-fold from an estimated 3,000 per year recently to 152,000 by the end of this century – if global warming is not reined in.

Southern Europe will suffer most and heatwaves would account for 99 per cent of the deaths, according to research conducted for the European Commission and published in The Lancet Planetary Health.


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‘Lucifer’ heatwave sees huge wildfires spread across Corsica and southern Europe – The Sun

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