Parts of planet impacted by extreme and deadly heat waves
Cities across China were on red alert for heat waves on Monday, tens of millions of people were cautioned to remain inside and record temperatures put pressure on energy supplies.
Parts of the world have been hit by deadly extreme heat waves in recent months, from western Europe in July to India in March and April.
Scientists say extreme weather has become more common as a result of climate change and is likely to become more intense as global temperatures continue to rise.
China is not an exception and sweats through one of the warmest summers ever recorded.
In the eastern provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian, the temperature exceeded 41 degrees Celsius (106 degrees Fahrenheit) during the weekend, reaching historic peaks in two cities.
People in areas under red heat alert, mostly concentrated in the southeast and northwest, are ordered to “stop all outdoor activities” and “pay special attention to fire prevention” the national weather service says in many notices during the weekend.
Saturday marked the “Great Heat” of the traditional Chinese calendar, long recognized as the warmest time of the year, but this summer was exceptionally warm.
Earlier this month, Shanghai had its highest air temperature of 40.9°C since registering in 1873.
The burning heat sent hundreds of people to the beach in Fujian’s Xiamen city on Sunday, while others hid from the sun under hats and facial coverings.
Wildfire in California
Meanwhile, California firefighters were making slow progress Monday in fighting a forest fire near Yosemite National Park that, according to authorities, would force some residents to evacuate “only the shirts on their back”.
The latest fire, which has already forced thousands of people to evacuate, comes at a time when much of the United States is still in the grip of a stifling heat wave.
The Oak fire in Mariposa County burned 16,791 acres (6,795 hectares) and is currently contained by 10 percent, Cal Fire, the state fire department, said.
What we see on that fire is very revealing of what we saw in the fires throughout California in the West over the past two years,” Jon Heggie, Chief of the Cal Fire Battalion, told CNN.
“These fires are burning with such speed and intensity that it is extremely difficult and extremely dangerous for both the public and firefighters,” Heggie said.
Wildfire in Greece
In Greece, which is particularly vulnerable to fires, firefighters countered forest fires on three fronts on Monday as flames destroyed about 2,200 hectares (5,400 acres) of wood in one of the country’s most important protected habitats.
About 320 firefighters, two waterbombers, and four helicopters were deployed to contain the fire now raging for a fourth day, at the Dadia National Park, known for its black vulture colony.
Several villages in the region have been evacuated. The flames have already destroyed an estimated 2,200 hectares of wood, according to a local mayor.
“It is an environmental catastrophe, the damage is incalculable,” Soufli Mayor Panagiotis Kalakikos told Star TV.