Travel warning: Expert warns UK holidaymakers wildfire risk in popular holiday destinations in Spain will 'be higher' this summer

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UK holidaymakers are issued a Spain travel warning as an expert has warned that the risk of wildfires in popular hotspots will be “higher than usual” this summer

An academic has warned UK holidaymakers that the risk of wildfires in many popular destinations in Spain will be “higher than usual” this summer as areas are currently under long term drought. Professor of Wildfire Science at Swansea University, Stefan Doerr, told NationalWorld that “many areas in Spain in particular are under long term drought, which means that wildfire risk (which is always high in the Mediterranean in the summer) is likely to be higher than usual in many popular destinations in Spain.”

He urged holidaymakers to be aware of this before they book their summer holidays. Professor Doerr said: “Wildfires are a common occurrence in all Mediterranean areas during the summer season and one should not be surprised if a fire affects a holiday through smoke, closures of roads and airports, or even evacuations. Smoking, barbecues and open flames should not be used in any areas close to vegetation.

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“The overall risk of a holiday being affected is still low compared to other risks (illness, other travel disruptions) but if there is a fire nearby, holidaymakers should pay close attention to instructions from tour operators, local authorities and emergency services to avoid unnecessary risk to themselves and others. Overall climate change has made heatwaves more likely and extreme across Europe (and most of the world). This unfortunately means that the risk for wildfires occurring is also on the rise.”

UK holidaymakers are issued a Spain travel warning as an expert has warned that the risk of wildfires in popular hotspots will be “higher than usual” this summer. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)UK holidaymakers are issued a Spain travel warning as an expert has warned that the risk of wildfires in popular hotspots will be “higher than usual” this summer. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)
UK holidaymakers are issued a Spain travel warning as an expert has warned that the risk of wildfires in popular hotspots will be “higher than usual” this summer. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Professor Doerr confirmed that it is likely Spain will see more wildfires this summer but for other regions in Europe he added “it’s too early to say with confidence whether we have an elevated wildfire risk in the coming summer.” His warning comes after a wildfire raged in the Alicante province, 10 miles north of popular holiday destination Benidorm, as an unseasonable heatwave swept across Spain. It was the first wildfire of 2024.

More than 200 firefighters battled the fire on Monday 15 April and according to local reports 180 people were forced to evacuate. The country is also battling one of its worst droughts in 200 years. The region of Catalonia, including Barcelona, is suffering from severe water shortages and locals have expressed concerns that emergency measures could put British tourists off their summer holidays.

In the Costa del Sol and Malaga city, local councils currently ban the use of drinking water to fill pools, meaning that raw water from wells or groundwater must be used instead, which then requires filtering in the pool. This has led to closures ranging from 24 to 72 hours.

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