At least nine countries across the Mediterranean have been hit by wildfires, as thousands of firefighters battled to extinguish blazes across the region.
At least 34 people have been killed in Algeria, while three have been killed in Italy’s southern island of Sicily.
Temperatures topping 40C (104F) and parched ground have sparked fires in countries on both sides of the Mediterranean.
Greece has been hit particularly hard, with over 20,000 evacuated in recent days from homes and resorts in the south of the holiday island Rhodes, while Corfu has also been hit by severe blazes.
Two firefighting pilots died when their plane crashed into a hillside on the island of Evia, east of Athens.
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Several people have been arrested or fined across Greece in recent days for accidentally starting fires.
Wildfires in Greece have released a record 1 megaton of carbon emissions between 1 and 25 July, the European Union’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) said – nearly double the previous July 2007 record, with smoke plumes deteriorating air quality in regions downwind.
Wildfires on Italy’s southern island of Sicily have killed three elderly people, its regional president said.
In Croatia, flames came within 12km (7.5 miles) of the medieval town of Dubrovnik late on Tuesday, with local media reporting landmines left over from the 1990s war of independence had been detonated by the fire.
Dozens of firefighters were using aircraft to battle a wildfire that had broken out close to Nice international airport in southern France.
Meanwhile, in north Africa, Algeria was fighting to contain devastating forest fires along its coast in a blaze which has already killed at least 34.
Fires fanned by strong winds also closed the closure of two border crossings in neighbouring Tunisia.
Wildfires also broke out in the countryside around Syria’s port city of Latakia, with the authorities using army helicopters to try to put them out.
Authorities evacuated a dozen homes and a hospital in Turkey as a precaution on Tuesday after a wildfire raged through a rugged forest near the Mediterranean resort of Kemer in Antalya province.
Away from the Mediterranean, fires also swept across Portugal and Spain’s Gran Canaria.
‘Madness’ as tourists fight for boat space to escape blaze
“The fire was so close, and I thought oh my God, either we’re going to burn or we’re going to be swimming in the pitch black sea, treading water for hours.”
This was the choice Ariana Faval and her three young sons faced just hours after waking up in an idyllic Greek resort.
Red Cross boats arrived to save her family and hundreds of other tourists from a beach near Gennadi, Rhodes, but panic and “madness” ensued as people fought for spaces on board, she said.
“I was just terrified, but trying to not look terrified for the boys. They were clearly really scared,” said Ms Faval, from the Wirral.
“It was madness. It was just awful,” she said, adding: “Some people were more concerned about their luggage than actual people and children.
“I had to tell one woman in no uncertain terms to back off. I watched her literally shove out the way about six women with babies.”
She added: “Some people were swimming out and trying to clamber onto the boats at the back.”
That was Saturday. But after being ferried to safety, Ms Faval learnt on Sunday the road back to her Kiotari hotel – where she had left their passports – had reopened.
Leaving her children, Rex, 11, Kit, nine, and Ezra, six, with friends, she travelled back through a “decimated” landscape to an “eerie” resort.
The restaurant had been gutted by the flames and the kids club “completely burnt to the ground”, she said.
But she was not waiting around to take pictures, leaving “within 15 minutes” of another fire sweeping towards the road between her and her children.
Now back in the UK, she said she is still getting flashbacks but she “has never felt so grateful to be home”.
Greek PM says his country is on frontline against climate change
EU officials have blamed climate change for the increasing frequency and intensity of wildfires across Europe, noting 2022 was the second-worst year for wildfire damage on record after 2017.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said his country was one of those on the frontline against climate change.
“I will state the obvious: in the face of what the entire planet is facing, especially the Mediterranean which is a climate change hot-spot, there is no magical defence mechanism, if there was we would have implemented it,” Mr Mitsotakis said.
Heatwave described as ‘silent killer’
Scientists have described extreme heat as a “silent killer” particularly affecting the poor, elderly and those with existing medical conditions.
Research published this month said as many as 61,000 people may have died in Europe’s sweltering heatwaves last summer. It suggested preparedness efforts are falling fatally short.