Europe wildfires 2022: map of areas affected including France, Spain and Portugal and how do wildfires start

Soaring temperatures have fuelled wildfires throughout Europe which have seen tens of thousands of people evacuated from their homes

Europe has been rocked by devastating wildfires after the continent has seen some of the highest recorded summer temperatures since records began.

Soaring temperatures across Europe have seen fires take hold, even impacting the UK, with fires causing devastation in London.

Firefighters in France, Portugal and Spain have been battling fires that cover thousands of hectares.

Temperatures have fuelled the flames, with highs of 47C in Portugal and above 40C in Spain.

Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes and holidaymakers have been caught up in the carnage, with plumes of smoke visible from the Spanish seaside resort of Torremolinos.

In Portugal, a pilot lost his life tackling the blaze and in Spain, two people have died in the North Western Zamora region.

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Authorities in Portugal and Spain have linked at least 1,000 deaths to the heat and wildfires.

The heatwave is now beginning to move north, with Germany, Belguim and Italy scorching in record high heat.

A fire has already broken out at the Belgian resort of De Haan, setting several vehicles alight, with growing fears that there are more still to come.

With the extreme temperatures set to continue, here’s everything you need to know about the wildfires in Europe.

What is happening in France?

Soaring temperatures in France have seen fires ravage the south-western region of Gironde and Brittany.

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A destroyed restaurant near the beach of Cazaux lac, near La Teste-de-Buch, southwestern France (Pic: AFP via Getty Images)

Over 30,000 people have been evacuated from their homes after 22 regional departments went on high orange alert.

Speaking to Agence France-Presse (AFP) one resident named Karyn called the scenes “post-apocalyptic.”

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said wildfires had burnt 10,000 hectares of land and praised firefighters for their “remarkable courage".

Gironde, which is a popular tourist destination has been hit particularly hard.

Firefighters are battling two wildfires that have so far burnt over 47,000 acres.

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Tourists on the beach in Moulleau can see the smoke from the wildfire in La Teste-de-Buch, France (Pic: AFP via Getty Images)

Speaking about the fires, the regional President Jean-Luc Gleyze said: “The idea that comes into my head is, it’s a monster.

“It’s a monster like an octopus, and it’s growing and growing and growing in the front, in the back, on both sides. Because of the temperature, because of the wind, because of the lack of water in the air...

“It’s a monster and it’s very difficult to fight against it.”

Animals at La Teste-de-Buch’s zoo have died due to stress caused by the heat.

The zoo has moved 363 other animals to Bordeaux-Pessac zoo, which is 40 miles away.

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What is happening in Spain?

In Spain, 20 fires are currently burning out of control.

Zamora in the north has been heavily impacted, with two people losing their lives to the wildfires.

Firefighters try to extinguish a wildfire next to the village of Tabara, near Zamora, northern Spain (AFP via Getty Images)

Trains in the area were also cancelled as flames grew close to the tracks.

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The southern area of Mijas Hills has also struck by raging wildfires this week.

Tourists were met with plumes of smoke on the beach in Torremolinos and soaring tempatures has only helped to fan the flames.

What is happening in Portugal?

In Portugal, the wildfires have had devastating consequences, with a pilot losing his life whilst tackling the blaze, after his water bombing plane crashed in the Foz Coa area.

A firefighter tackles a forest fire around the village of Eiriz in Baiao, north of Portugal (Pic: AFP via Getty Images)

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News also broke than an elderly couple had lost their lives trying to escape the flames.

The country has been most impacted in the north east, close to the city of Porto.

Several villages have had to be evacuated in the Murca region.

Portugal has seen record high temperatures with highs of 47C, which make fighting the fire difficult and have created the perfect condition for the flames to spread.

Authorities in Portugal and Spain have linked at least 1,000 deaths to the heat and wildfires.

Where are the wildfires in Europe?

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Europe has been hit by a string of wildfires that have left devastation in their path.

It’s not just France, Spain and Portugal that have been affected.

Italy, Belguim, Hungary, Croatia, Greece, Crete and Morocco have also been hit.

Here is a map of the areas impacted by Europe’s wildfires:

Map of forest fires across the EU (Pic: NationalWorld/ Mark Hall)

How do wildfires start?

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As the earth is heating up due to climate change, wildfires are becoming a regular occurence around the world.

The soaring temperatures in Europe have created the perfect storm for rampant wildfires.

To have a wild fire you need three things: oxygen, fuel and heat.

Oxygen is already in the atmosphere, fuel is any material that will burn such as trees, grass and even homes.

The drier the fuel is, the faster it will burn, heat dries out the surrounding area so that the fire continues to have fuel to spread.

In Europe, the high temperatures mixed with drought have caused a tinderbox effect, meaning that just one small spark could become a huge fire.