As wildfires grip Europe, the Foreign Office gives warning to

As wildfires grip Europe, the Foreign Office gives warning to holiday Britons: Wear a hat and do not light barbecues!

  • Tourists warned of travel disruption amid extreme temperatures up to 48C

As wildfires ravage Greece and temperatures rocket the Foreign Office is telling Britons on their holidays to ‘wear a hat’ and ‘not light barbecues’.

The rather basic guidance also included a warning to tourists of travel disruption due to the extreme weather and of temperatures of up to 48C (118F).

Its guidance comes as southern Europe battles a series of devastating heatwaves that have seen tourist site closures and mass evacuations.

Advice issued for Greece, Italy and Spain on the Foreign Office website refers travellers to the NHS page for heatwaves which gives ‘tips for coping in hot weather’.

It reads: ‘Keep out of the heat if you can. If you have to go outside, stay in the shade especially between 11am and 3pm, wear sunscreen, a hat and light clothes, and avoid exercise or activity that makes you hotter.’

Pine trees burn in a wild fire in Agia Sotira, near Athens, Greece

Head first – man buries his head in the water to cool down at a fountain in Rome

A helicopter puts out a fire in the village of Pournari, near Athens

Travellers are also warned not to start forest fires: ‘Make sure cigarette ends are properly extinguished’ and ‘not light barbecues’. Three separate blazes are tearing through Greece as it suffers from a heatwave named Charon after the ferryman of the dead in mythology.

Yesterday, temperatures hit 37C in Greece, 36C in Italy and 30C in Switzerland.

But they could be as high as 44C in central and southern parts of Greece by the end of the week. Thousands were evacuated as houses and swathes of countryside were destroyed by fires on Monday and Tuesday.

Wildfire victim Giorgos Nikolaou, 89, of Lagonissi near Athens, said: ‘I only have my bathing suit, nothing else, and this shirt, I have nothing else, I don’t even have other shoes. Nothing. I am finished.’

Wildfires continued to burn out of control to the north and west of the capital with smoke visible in satellite imagery.

Authorities last week introduced changes in working hours and ordered afternoon closures of the Acropolis and other ancient sites to allow workers to cope with the heat.

The UN weather agency said temperatures in Europe could break the 48.8C record set in Sicily two years ago as concerns grow of a spike in deaths.

‘Heatwaves are really an invisible killer,’ said Panu Saaristo of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. ‘We are experiencing hotter and hotter temperatures for longer stretches of time every single summer.’ John Nairn, of the World Meteorological Organisation, said: ‘These are not your normal weather systems of the past. They have arrived as a consequence of climate change… and it’s going to continue.’

Most of Spain is under alert for high to extreme heat, with forecast peaks of 43C in the northeast and on Majorca.

On La Palma in the Canaries, over 4,000 people were evacuated as 400 firemen with nine aircraft fought a wildfire.

In Switzerland, 150 fire crew and other emergency services fought a wildfire that engulfed a mountain in the Valais region. Four villages and hamlets were evacuated.

Health alerts are in place in Rome, Florence, Palermo and Bari. The extreme heat could continue for another ten days.

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