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Wildfires in Southern Europe as the north cleans after flooding

Wildfires in Southern Europe as the north cleans after flooding

Aided by heat and strong wind, wildfires break out across southern Europe on Monday while northern countries clean after a weekend of heavy rain and flooding.

Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsutakis, said firefighters had dealt with about 50 fires in the last 24 hours and that meteorologists warn that another heatwave is to be expected.

“I want to emphasize that August remains a difficult month. That is why it is important for all of us, all state services, to be on absolute alert until the firefighting period is formally over.” He said.

Although no casualties were reported, fire service officials said carelessness at farms and construction sites was behind several incidents in the southern region of Peloponnese. No deaths were reported.

The situation in southern Europe contrasts sharply with the severe rainstorms that struck northern countries from Austria to the UK, following massive flooding in Germany and neighbouring countries the week before.

On Sardinia, an Italian island, French and Greek firefighting planes stepped up to assist local planes across the island where more than 4,000 hectares of forest burned and more than 350 people were evacuated.

Fires broke out near the western town of Erice in Sicily.

In northeastern Catalonia, Spain, over 1,500 hectares have been destroyed near Santa Coloma de Queralt, and dozens of people have had to evacuate, firefighters and officials said.

Before being brought under control, over 2,500 hectares burned during the weekend, authorities In Lietor, in the central east region of Castilla-La Mancha said.

In Spain, wildfires have burned across 35,000 hectares this year, but still far from the 138,000 hectares burned in 2012, which was the worst year of the past decade.

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