European wildfire threat recedes as temperatures drop
July 21, 2022 By The Associated Press
MADRID (AP) — Europe’s recent spate of wildfires abated amid cooler temperatures Thursday, with no outbreaks reported in Portugal while French firefighters started to get the upper hand over two major blazes and Spain tamed a fire that killed two people last weekend.
Spanish firefighters were tackling nine blazes, with two said to be especially dangerous in northwestern Galicia.
Some of the 11,000 people evacuated because of the fires in Spain began returning home, and a major highway in the northwestern Zamora province reopened after two days.
Temperatures above 40 C (104 F) and a drought have worsened Spain’s wildfires this year. Thursday’s highest temperature in Spain was forecast to be 32 C (90 F).
In France, more than a week of round-the-clock battling against ferocious flames by more than 2,000 firefighters and up to 10 water-dropping planes was slowly winning out against two major wildfires in tinder-dry pine forests in southwest France.
The Gironde region’s fire service said both blazes, which forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people, were contained.
Though still fighting hot spots that could reignite blazes, the fire service said it expects to have tamped down flare-ups and tamed the fires’ embers within days. Officials said they will probably be able to declare the fires completely extinguished within weeks.