Hundreds of firefighters battled blazes and brought them under control in southern France on Saturday, June 29, as a heatwave continues to bring high temperatures to much of Europe. Among the regions most severely affected by the heatwave include Gard and Vaucluse regions. On Friday, June 28, temperatures reached 46°C (114°F) in Gard region, where fires have burned some 550 hectares (1360 acres) in recent days; at least 15 firefighters and several police officers have been injured trying to contain the blazes.
Heat exhaustion has left at least one person dead in Vaucluse region. Paris also sweltered under 36°C (97°F) temperatures on Saturday.
Though daily high temperatures are forecast to decrease in France over the coming days, continuing high demand for air conditioning may lead to sporadic power outages. The extreme heat also increases the likelihood of railway fires, resulting in train delays, as trains are forced to operate at lower speeds for safety reasons. Train cancelations should be anticipated.
Meteorologists predict above-average temperatures through August.
Individuals in France are advised to monitor local weather reports, avoid strenuous activities or spending time outdoors, particularly during midday, wear loose-fitting clothing, drink plenty of water and avoid dehydrating liquids, such as alcoholic, sugary, or caffeinated drinks, and seek immediate medical attention if exhibiting symptoms of heat stroke, such as nausea, confusion, headache, rapid and strong pulse, and dry skin. Travelers are advised to budget additional time when traveling by train.
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