After two Corona summers, travel halfway carefree again – millions of tourists are taking this to heart this year. However, holidaymakers should be aware of imminent dangers such as fires, high heat and even storms. A Mediterranean overview from south-west to south-east.
Because of the numerous forest fires that have been raging in Portugal for a week, there is a state of emergency in the holiday country up to and including Sunday. As part of the so-called “Estado de contingência”, the third highest level of emergency, staying in forests is severely restricted. Otherwise, you can continue to take normal vacations for the time being; According to the authorities, the flames do not currently pose a threat to tourist or larger residential areas. However, the crash of a fire-fighting plane in northern Portugal on Saturday, in which the pilot died, showed how dangerous the deployment of firefighters is. In Greece, too, two crew members died when a fire-fighting helicopter crashed on Wednesday.
Portugal’s neighboring country has also been hit by a drought that has lasted for months and a sweltering heat with temperatures of up to 45 degrees, which, according to the Aemet weather service, will last at least until Monday. A total of 33 forest fires were recorded in Spain as of Saturday morning, 14 of which were out of control. The newspaper “La Vanguardia” reported on Saturday, citing the state health institute Carlos III. in Madrid of 360 people who died as a result of high temperatures since last Sunday.
Vacationers in France must continue to be prepared for quite hot days. In large parts of the country, well over 30 degrees Celsius are predicted by Tuesday, and the capital Paris, which is popular with tourists, is not spared. The heat is likely to cause problems with traffic. Because it means that overhead lines can expand and hang lower and rails are sometimes overheated, trains sometimes run slower at high temperatures.
There is also a high risk of forest fires in southern France. A forest fire south of Bordeaux that had been raging for days stabilized in the meantime, but then flared up again. Redemptive rain is not foreseeable at first.
Vacationers have to be prepared for extreme heat. There is an increased risk of forest fires in many parts of Italy. Fires at the popular seaside resort of Bibione in the north caused more excitement. There, several tourists escaped into the sea on Friday because of the forest fires. Firefighters initially brought the flames under control, but fires broke out again in places on Saturday.
Due to the low amount of rain and snowfall this year, especially in the north, there is a drought and water bodies carry much less water than usual. If you want to swim in Lake Garda, for example, you should be careful when jumping in because of the low water level. Due to the emergency, cities like Milan and Venice recently decided to turn off wells to conserve water. The government in Rome imposed a drought emergency in the five regions of Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Emilia-Romagna. Other regions could follow. However, this should not have any direct impact on holidaymakers.
Although Greece has so far been spared the severe heat in Western Europe, it is also very hot and dry there. Dozens of forest fires break out every day. Many can be contained quickly, but in strong winds some fires spread almost unhindered. The second highest forest fire warning level therefore currently applies to some areas – including Athens and the surrounding area, the islands of Crete and Euboea, Lesbos and Samos and also the north-east of the Peloponnese peninsula. It may therefore happen that tourist towns are evacuated as a precaution. Smartphone owners then receive a warning SMS from the Greek Ministry of Citizen Protection.
But not only in the heat, caution is also required in storms. Just last week, a tourist died in the sea off the holiday peninsula of Chalkidiki during severe storms. The man and two friends had gone swimming despite the high waves and storm, the current and the waves drove the men out to sea. The first was rescued after a few hours, and another survived 19 hours at sea before being apprehended. He was clinging to a beach ball. The third man could only be recovered dead.