On Saturday, firefighters battled roaring flames in Spain, while residents sought comfort with fans, shade, and lots of water as temperatures neared record highs due to an unseasonably warm spell.
According to the national meteorological office AEMET, Spain was on track for its highest early summer temperatures in decades, with projections of 40-42 degrees Celsius (104-108 degrees Fahrenheit) in Zaragoza in the northeast and portions of Navarre and La Rioja in northern Spain.
Over the last several days, many parts of Western Europe have been sweating in abnormally warm temperatures, adding to climate change concerns.
People visiting a farmers market in Zaragoza, which is expected to swelter under Spain’s maximum temperature of 42 degrees on Saturday, waved fans and newspapers, sat in the shade, and drank water. The temperature had risen to 40.9°C at 4 p.m.
Wildfires have erupted in various regions due to dry and windy weather, with Zamora, near the Portuguese border, being one of the most damaged.
According to a tweet from the regional administration of Castile and Leon, where Zamora is located, about 20,000 hectares of land had been burned in the Sierra de la Culebra mountain range, and the fire was “still active.”
On Saturday afternoon, it was reported that 11 communities had been evacuated and that 500 firemen were battling the blaze.
There have been no deaths or injuries reported.
Near Catalonia, firefighters working to put out a fire in Baldomar warned Saturday would be “difficult” due to “very high temperatures and a strong southerly wind.”
On the fringes of the town of Caudiel in Castellon, eastern Spain, flames crackled and raced high into the air.
Masks, goggles, and helmets were used by firefighters as they battled the flames. As smoke billowed across the town, they assisted locals in evacuating their pets, including dogs and horses.
“This is proof of climate change,” said Bernardo Funes, a 63-year-old stallholder and organic farmer in Zaragoza. “It’s quite concerning because… we had highs of 34, 35 degrees in May, and now it’s about 44 degrees in June.”
Marisa Gutierrez sat beneath a covered canopy outside the city’s great cathedral, displaying the lottery tickets she was selling.
“It’s been quite severe,” she told media, “with a hot breeze that seemed like it came from the desert.” “This isn’t normal… the weather is normally lovely at this time of year, but not this hot.”
Meanwhile, guests at a stag party in the city center costumed as Romans stated they had to drink as much water as beer.