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Heading east, Europe’s heatwave, wildfires moves Poland, Greece

ATHENS, Greece: As firefighters battled wildfires across the continent this week, the heat wave scorching Europe moved eastwards to Italy, Poland and Slovenia, which issued their highest level heat wave alerts.

After containing a major wildfire fanned by high winds that ravaged areas near Athens for two days, Greece urged Europe to do more to address climate change.

Greek government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou told reporters, “The climate crisis is now evident across Europe, with particular intensity in the wider Mediterranean region. The cocktail of high temperatures, gusty winds and heavy drought inevitably leads to wildfires.”

“Europe must act in a coordinated and rapid manner to reverse the climate crisis. The solution cannot be given at a national level, because the problem is transnational and huge,” he added.

With temperatures as high as 36.7 Celsius (98 Fahrenheit) measured in the western town of Kornik, Polish, authorities issued heat warnings for many parts of the country, while many residents and tourists headed to the northern port city of Gdansk to cool down.

The Onet news website also reported a large wildfire fire broke out near the southern town of Brzesko.

In Italy, news agency ANSA reported that fires continued to blaze in Tuscany and Friuli Venezia Giulia, but they did not appear to have spread, while new wildfires were spotted in the mountains near Bologna and north of Milan.

Also, 14 cities, including Rome and Milan, were placed on the country’s highest heatwave alert, the country’s health ministry said.

In Slovenia, news outlets reported that 400 people from three villages had to be evacuated because of the wildfire blaze.

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Meanwhile, Portugal and Spain are continuing to fight wildfires.