A European Union atmosphere monitor warned Wednesday that the Mediterranean has become a “wildfire hotspot” as brutal heatwaves continue to scorch.
Deadly wildfires have been plaguing Turkey and Greece as nearby countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Italy, Romania, and Serbia issued heat warnings. In Greece, the temperature reached 47.1 degrees Celsius (117 degrees Fahrenheit), almost the highest ever recorded in Europe.
The scientists also warned that human-induced climate change will make heat waves more frequent and severe. The EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) said that although the rise in temperatures alone does not directly trigger wildfires, the hot and dry conditions make them more likely to happen.
“It is especially important to closely watch these high-intensity fires as the smoke they emit can have impacts on air quality locally and downwind,” said Copernicus senior scientist Mark Parrington.
Italy, Albania, Morocco, Greece, North Macedonia, and Lebanon all faced deadly wildfires this year. The European Commission said Wednesday it helped the countries by mobilizing firefighting aircraft, helicopters and firefighters.