July 20 (BP) — Much of Europe was returning to more typical summer heat Wednesday after the record-breaking deadly heat wave sparked wildfires that killed at least 1,169 people and forced tens of thousands of people from their homes.
The extreme heat and fires made Tuesday the busiest day since WWII for London firefighters, with at least 41 buildings destroyed and 16 firefighters injured, according to London Mayor Sadiq Kahn.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Khan said the London Fire Brigade got 2,600 calls as it battled numerous fires.
“I am doing all I can to support them in ensuring the safety of Londoners as well as the dedicated fire crews who are dealing with a high volume of incidents under immense pressure,” Khan said Tuesday in a statement.
Britain set a record high temperature of 104 degrees Tuesday.
Spain and Portugal have reported 1,169 heat-related deaths, according to each nation’s ministry of health.
Thousands of firefighters fought wildfires in France, Spain and Portugal that destroyed thousands of acres of land.
More than 14,000 people have fled wildfires in France as fires spread across more than 27,180 acres.
In Greece near Athens, hundreds of people were evacuated and one person died as fires threatened a children’s hospital, according to the Greek Fire Service.
“It’s hard to put into words the conditions that firefighters were faced with yesterday,” Fire Brigade Union National Officer Riccardo la Torre told Euronews Green. “The size and the heat of these fires and the speed at which they spread out … the noise as well. They can be so loud.”
The intense heat buckled an airport runway near London and the heat wave hit the highest temperature ever recorded in Wales on Monday.