U.S. wildfires rage across U.K. with heavy rainfall as forecasters say rainfall expected across the country will fall as high as 10%
U.N. Climate Change Secretary Pieter Tans told reporters Friday that the U.k. and U.s. are facing the most extreme wildfire season on record and that rain will fall heavily across the continent.
Tans said it was very likely that in the next two weeks, the European Union will see a record amount of rain, possibly as much as a third of the current total.
Tens of millions of people will be forced to evacuate in the United Kingdom and in many parts of Europe.
He said that as of Thursday, a total of 6,811 fires had burned across the U to England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“The amount of dry weather is really going to be catastrophic, which is really scary,” he said.
Tanks were also seen in the skies above the U of L campus in downtown Lexington, Kentucky, where firefighters had been battling a blaze on Thursday.
At one point, a tank came in sight, and firefighters had to shoot it down.
The U. K. government has set a target of one million hectares (2 million acres) of forest burned by fire by early next week, but Tans said the U could go as high at 4 million hectares by the end of the week.
The fire season started Wednesday in northern England and continued through Friday, with another 4,000 hectares (9,000 acres) burned.
A wildfire in the North West, which has been burning since July, has burned an estimated 10,000 ha (6,800 acres) and will likely burn through to the end if it continues to burn.
The wildfire in Scotland also burned through Friday with a total burn of 8,600 ha (4,500 acres) in a forest on the island of Borneo.
There were also reports of wildfires in Northern Ireland, including a small fire in a village.
The National Weather Service reported a possible wind of 40 mph (60 kph) across the North and Central Plains.
Tanes said it is unlikely that rain from the El Nino climate phenomenon will affect U. S. fires as much because the air is warmer than usual.
But he said the fire season could see heavy rain in some areas, including southern California and the Rockies.
The wildfires are one of the most severe in U. s. history, but there have been some smaller ones, such as in the South West, that have burned far less than the most recent fire season.