From England to Spain, Europe is on fire: World in photos

Introducing Grid Health, our new weekly health and policy newsletter

The world in photos: From England to Spain, Europe is on fire

Last Friday in this space, we looked at record-breaking heat across much of China — and the myriad ways people were dealing with it. It’s cooler in China this week; now it’s Europe’s turn. Heat records have fallen in Great Britain and France — causing widespread discomfort and in some places, clear danger. On Tuesday, several regions of England — London included — have seen the mercury move north of 104 degrees Fahrenheit, in a country where only a small minority of people have air conditioning. The previous high was more than two degrees lower — 101.7 — recorded in 2019. And by way of comparison, the average July temperature in the U.K. is roughly 70 degrees.

Tuesday, Britain’s national weather service issued a “red extreme heat warning” for the first time in its history, the U.K.’s Network Rail put out “do not travel” warnings for trains passing through those red-alert areas, and the London Fire Brigade said it was responding to several “significant fires” around the city.

Larger-scale fires have raged to the south of Britain. Hundreds of people have died as a result of wildfires in southern Europe — 748 in Spain and Portugal alone. Those countries — and France and Greece as well — have deployed firefighters and evacuated residents in scenes more common to the American West. Near Barcelona, more than 80 teams of the “Bombers de la Generalitat” have been deployed, and two huge wildfires have been burning in southwestern France — the fires in the Gironde region are the largest that country has seen in more than 30 years. As far as the thermometer goes, temperatures have reached triple digits in much of France; in Nantes, the country’s sixth-largest city, a Monday reading of 109 degrees Fahrenheit obliterated the previous record of 104.5. That was in 1949.

As with China last week, these photos document both the sweltering heat and the ways in which people are trying to cope. And as was the case in China, there is relief in the forecast. London is expected to be back in the 80s — as soon as tomorrow.

BARCELONA, CATALONIA, SPAIN - JULY 17: Neighbors collaborate in the work of extinction in a forest fire, on 17 July, 2022 seen from Sant Fruitos del Bages, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. The fire has started today Sunday at noon and already affects 95 hectares, in its extinction work 81 teams of the Bombers de la Generalitat, of which 13 are aerial. The fire, fanned by the south wind, advances "with power and projects secondary foci" and could burn up to 1,500 hectares, Bombers has reported in a statement. Therefore, they have recommended the evacuation of the area of Can Riera houses, have vacated the area of Rocafort and have confined the urbanization of River Park for prevention, after the request of Proteccio Civil.  17 July 2022. (Photo By Lorena Sopena/Europa Press via Getty Images)
19 July 2022, Lower Saxony, Sehnde: A farmer harvests an extremely dry wheat field in the Hanover region with the help of a combine in very hot weather (aerial view with drone). Photo: Julian Stratenschulte/dpa (Photo by Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images)
19 July 2022, Saxony, Radeburg: Smoke rises from a forest on the Königsbrücker Heide near Radeburg as a VW Beetle drives by. Photo: Robert Michael/dpa (Photo by Robert Michael/picture alliance via Getty Images)
  • Tom Nagorski
    Tom Nagorski

    Global Editor

    Tom Nagorski is the global editor at Grid, where he oversees our coverage of global security, U.S.-China relations, migration trends, global economics and U.S. foreign policy.

  • Jake Garcia
    Jake Garcia

    Associate Producer, Multimedia

    Jake Garcia is a documentary filmmaker and multimedia producer for Grid.