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Extreme weather in Europe: a continent battling flames and heavy rain

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Wildfires in Greece
Wildfires in Greece   -   Copyright  AA
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Floods, heatwaves, wildfires and storms.

Extreme weather conditions fueling disasters throughout Europe continue not only to cause devastation but also claim lives.

In southern France, one person has died and 22 people were injured by the country's worst wildfire this summer.

The blaze has scorched some 7,000 hectares in Var region -- known for its forests, vineyards and fauna -- since it broke out in the Plaine des Maures nature reserve on Monday evening.

High temperatures and strong winds forced local authorities to evacuate around 7,000 people from homes and campsites, the Var prefecture said on Tuesday, many to the safety of municipal buildings and schools.

Greece

In Greece, hundreds of firefighters struggle to contain a blaze northwest of Athens for two days running.

The fire in the Vilia area has reportedly forced the evacuation of a care home and several villages.

Efforts are also underway to stop another fire burning in the Keratea area southeast of Athens from reaching the National Forest of Sounio.

Two people have been arrested on suspicion of arson, according to Greek news outlet Ekathimerini on Tuesday.

Hundreds of wildfires have burned across Greece this month, fuelled by the country’s most severe heatwave in decades.

Germany

German rescue teams have recovered the body of a woman who was swept off a bridge by floods in Bavaria.

Heavy, sudden rains on Monday afternoon turned the Hammersbach creek in the Valley of Hell near the town of Grainau into a torrent that tore down a wooden bridge, sweeping two people into the water, German news agency dpa reported. Rescue operations are still underway in an effort to find the second person.

DPA
German rescue teamsDPA

Austria

In Austria, the Pinzgau region of Salzburg, which had suffered from mudslides and flooding just last weekend, was particularly affected by heavy rains on Tuesday night.

In Wald in Pinzgau, roads and the railway have been destroyed today by meter-wide holes. The streambed of the Krimmler Ache creek has burst its banks for the third time in three days.

Several mudflows have come down, the largest over a length of 500 meters. The community of Krimml was cut off from the outside world overnight.

Italy

Emergency services have been responding to flooding and storm damage in the north of Italy, while the south reels in extreme temperatures, caused by the so-called Lucifer anticyclone.

Rain, hail and wind were being reported in Friuli Venezia Giulia (northeast Italy). The province of Pordenone was particularly hard-hit where people had to evacuate their homes at Azzano Decino.

Such extreme weather is expected to happen more frequently as the planet is warming. Climate scientists say there is little doubt climate change from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas is driving extreme events, such as heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, floods and storms.

Additional sources • AP, AA, AFP