Are Europe's Historic Fires Caused By Climate Change?
The heat wave toasting Europe dried out its foliage. That made everything much more likely to catch fire.
In Greece, the fires came fast and hard, sweeping through towns so quickly that residents were trapped in clouds of smoke. Some people ran toward the ocean, plunging into the water to save themselves from the flames onshore. Others tried to shelter in buildings or cars. But the fires, which raged through several towns on the outskirts of Athens, have claimed 91 lives, making it the most deadly wildfire season in Europe since 1900.
In Sweden, more than 80 fires across 100 square miles spread through the thick, normally damp northern forests. Finland and Latvia battle their own blazes.
Europe sets on fire each summer, especially around the Mediterranean. On average, about 1500 square miles of the E.U.