Global Warming Comes Into Focus As Wildfires Burn Spain, Portugal

Deadly forest fires sweep across Portugal and northern Spain as Hurricane Ophelia's strong winds are blamed for fanning the flames.


At least six people have reportedly been killed after a deadly wildfire swept across northern Spain and Portugal.

More than 100 fires raged through the region. According to experts, the fires on the Iberian Peninsula are fanned by strong winds of up to 55 mph (90 kilometers per hour) of Hurricane Ophelia as it moved north off the coast of Spain toward Ireland.

Almost 25 people in Spain were injured as thousands of firefighters evacuated people. At least two bodies of the victims have not been identified.

"The situation is worrying. It was very sudden, it was crazy," Nigran mayor Juan Gonzalez told La Sexta television.

The flames reportedly reached O Castro, a large hilltop park in Vigo.

In Portugal, approximately 440 fires erupted, which is “the worst day since the beginning of the year,” according to a spokeswoman for the national civil protection agency, Patricia Gaspar.

The regional government of Galicia said in a statement, 350 fire brigades with 200 soldiers were on duty battling 17 major wildfires in the region. Residents also joined in the efforts with water buckets to fight the blazes as they spread through the city of 300,000 inhabitants.

According to emergency services, the fire Galicia is being treated as a level 2 or second-highest maximum threat.

Wildfires are generally taking place more frequently and global warming is one of the major reasons for this increase. According to researchers and modelers moist, forested areas are most likely to face greater threats from wildfires as conditions grow drier and hotter, all thanks to global warming.   

Climate scientists are reportedly concerned that areas of Western Europe and regions along the Northeast and West coast of the United States could begin to experience hurricanes in the future due to changing trends in global warming.















Thumbnail Credits: Reuters, Vincent West

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