French municipalities of Cagnes-sur-Mer and Villeneuve-Loubet, located close to the Nice International Airport, have been captured by a wildfire, with nearly 100 firefighters using a helicopter to contain the blaze.
A spokesperson for the local fire department told Reuters that operations were expected to continue during the evening and that no victims or damage to housing has been recorded.
A spokesperson of France’s civil aviation authority noted that the wildfire hadn’t had any impact on air traffic for the time being, while its neighbouring country of Italy was forced to shut down Palermo airport after reports of deadly wildfires in the south of the country and storms in the north.
The Provence-Alpes-Cote-d’Azur region, where the largest French cities like Marseille, Nice and Aix-en-Provence are located, has been closely watched amid the increasing temperatures and strong winds in an area that is historically prone to wildfires.
On Tuesday, the Bouches-du-Rhone department was categorised under a red alert, with authorities anticipating a very high risk of wildfires, as Reuters reports. Police said that over 300 firefighters were battling to contain the blaze near the city of Arles.
According to the Nice Matin newspaper, there were several fire outbreaks in southeastern France on the same day, and authorities denied access to parks and markets to reduce the risks to residents.
The extreme weather conditions in Europe have caused at least seven casualties in Italy, three in the country’s southern region, which is contained by a wildfire and four in the northern region, experiencing severe storms.
Similarly, the wildfire that is occurring in Greece is equally concerning, with two Greek air force pilots falling victim after a plane crashed while fighting wildfires on Evia island.
The officials have confirmed for BBC that the water-bombing plane crashed while trying to put out the fire near Platainstos.
The Mediterranean countries of Algeria and Tunisia are also dealing with wildfires due to the intense European heatwave, which has caused at least 34 victims. Fueled by strong winds, fires have spread to neighbouring countries of Tunisia and forced the closure of the border crossings.
Moreover, authorities have evacuated some 1,500 people from their homes, while these numbers are even higher in Italy, with hundreds of thousands being forced to leave their houses.
The heatwave isn’t common only in the Mediterranean countries and Europe but also internationally, with temperatures breaking records in China as well as the United States. Temperatures are surging at 49 degrees Celsius; such is the case with Tunisia.