The government of North Macedonia declared a state of emergency on August 5 for the next 30 days due to wildfires across the country, including around the capital, Skopje.
Unusually high summer temperatures and strong winds have stoked deadly fires in parts of southeastern Europe, Russia and Turkey, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage and prompting the evacuation of thousands of people.
The EU commissioner for the environment, Virginijus Sinkevicius, said the fires and extreme weather globally over the summer were a clear signal for the need to address climate change.
“We are fighting some of the worst wildfires we’ve seen in decades. But this summer’s floods, heatwaves and forest fires can become our new normality,” he wrote in a tweet.
“We must ask ourselves: Is this the world we want to live in? We need immediate actions for nature before it’s too late.”
The EU Atmosphere Monitoring Service said smoke plumes from the region’s wildfires were clearly visible in satellite images, adding that the estimated intensity of the wildfires in Turkey was at the highest level since records started in 2003.
With reporting by Reuters and AFP