Turkey seeks international help in fighting fires, and neighbor Greece uses old power plants to cope with demand for air conditioning as heat waves intensify in Southeast Europe
ATHENS, Greece – A heat wave sweeping Southeast Europe has sparked deadly fires in Turkey and threatened a national network in Greece while governments struggled on Monday to provide the resources needed to deal with the emergency.
Temperatures reached 45 C (113 F) in the interior of Greece and nearby countries and are expected to remain high for most of the week.
On the sixth day, fighting deadly fires along its coast, Turkey expanded its appeal for international aid and was promised planes to discharge water from the European Union. The fires have been blamed for the deaths of eight people in recent days.
In Greece, health workers were allowed to take days off, while retired coal-fired power plants were put back into operation to strengthen the national network, under pressure from widespread use of air conditioners.
Dann Mitchell, a professor of climate science at the University of Bristol, said the heat wave in Southeast Europe “is not at all unexpected and is very likely intensified due to human-caused climate change.”
“The number of extreme heat events around the world is growing from year to year, and the first 10 warmest recorded years have occurred since 2005,” Mitchell told the Associated Press.
“This year we have seen a number of significant events, including a particularly dramatic heat wave in western Canada and the United States, which has been extreme even for current levels of climate change,” Mitchell said. “These events with black swans have always happened, but now they sit in the background of a warmer climate, so they’re even more deadly.”
As the hot weather moved south, Italy and Croatia experienced storms as well as fires in different regions of the country.
A small tornado in Istria, on Croatia’s northern Adriatic coast, knocked down trees that destroyed several cars, hours before a large fire broke out in front of the nearby resort of Trogir, threatening houses and local electricity.
About 30 people were treated for inhaling light smoke in the Italian coastal town of Pescari after flames broke through a nearby pine forest.
“This pine forest zone is a nature reserve and has been completely destroyed. Tears are watching him. The damage to the environment is invaluable. This is the heart of the city, its green lungs are still destroyed today “, said the mayor of Pescara, Carlo Masi.
Cyprus, recovering from a major fire last month, has been patrolling planes releasing water to respond to fires that have erupted.
“If you do not respond immediately to a massive response to any epidemic, things can quickly become difficult,” forestry chief Charalambos Alexandrou told state media.
“Conditions are like war.”
——— Colleen Barry reported from Milan, Italy. Susan Fraser of Ankara, Turkey, Ayse Wieting in Istanbul, Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade, Serbia, and Menelaos Hadjicostis in Nicosia, Cyprus.