Reuters report that Europe is on fire. The extreme heat in especially the western part of Europe makes it difficult to prevent fires and fight them. In southwest France, villages have been evacuated to save the citizens from the flames.
Europe is on fire
Here in Sweden, we have been spared from wildfires since 2018 when up to 4.000 fires were registered and all forestry activity was stopped to prevent more fires. In total, 25.000 hectares of forest land were burned that summer. And approx. 3 million cubic meters of wood were destroyed.
Sweden didn’t even have its own fire-fighting planes, so-called water bombers back then. Italian and Spanish planes were called in to help, just like ground-bound firefighters from Poland, Germany, and more. Almost two years later, water bombers were purchased by the Swedish authorities. Thanks to them, and good weather conditions, we haven’t had any large wildfires since then.
Now, they are sent to France to help the local authorities to fight the “Monster-fire” there. A fire that has been stopped from spreading for the time being.
Worst in the southwest
France, Spain, and Portugal seem to be the most struck countries when it comes to wildfire. In the Portuguese Serra da Estrela national park, in the central parts of the country, the fire is so heavy that it is noticed in the Spanish city of Madrid, 400 kilometers (250 miles) away.
But also Italy, Romania, Germany, Switzerland, and Great Britain are mentioned in the article from Reuters. Those countries struggle against drought and drained rivers. Switzerland, as an example, brings water to cattle by helicopter. On the island of Sicily, horses that carry tourists are obliged to get at least ten liters of water per day. That’s more than what the bicycle couriers on the island get.
As if that wasn’t enough, more heatwaves are coming.
There is a lot of talk going on about climate change. “Proofs” of the reasons are being presented from all sides of the discussion. The range goes from “a total disaster, we will all soon be dead” to “nothing to worry about”. As usual, the truth most likely lies somewhere in between.
I’m not going to argue for or against any of the sides right now. But I can’t help noticing that there is a change in climate going on. When I was a logger, working every day in the forest in the early ’80s here in south Sweden, the winter came in November and stayed until March/April. You could rely on that. You could still count on the winter when I was operating processors and harvesters. If it was frozen in January, you knew that you had at least two months to get the wood out of the forest before the frost went away.
Today you can’t rely on that here in south Sweden. The winters come and go several times between October and April. To operate on frozen winter strip roads is no longer an option. Olofsfors, Clark’s, and other track manufacturers are probably thankful for that.
As mentioned above, I will not argue about the reasons for this. I just see what I see – and you must reach my age to see it yourself.