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Earth Alert
European Heat Triggers Fires, Alpine Melt
Aug. 25, 2000 -- Italy's alpine glaciers are melting and scores of forest fires are burning due to the unseasonably hot summer weather plaguing Europe.
Many glaciers in the Italian Alps have begun receding at a rate far faster than that of a normal summer melt.
Marmolada Mountain has lost seven feet of ice within two days.  the melt has uncovered a never-before-seen outpost of Austro-Hungarian troops built during World War I.  Hikers 8,850 feet up the mountain also found the body of a soldier killed more than 80 years ago.
The threat of avalanches has forced authorities to cancel summer skiing in some areas.
Fires burned across the country, including the island of Sicily, Italian authorities were forced to close a major road between Positano on the Amalfi coast and Sorrento after several fires broke out between the two popular tourist destinations on the Sorrento peninsula.
Meanwhile, the ongoing high temperatures have also ignited innumerable fires across the Balkans as well as from Croatia to Greece.  At least 10 people have died since the first heat wave sparked widespread wildfires three months ago.
Petar Jurjevic of the Croatian forest inspection agency reported that at least 535 wildfires have destroyed almost 50,300 acres of forests and underbrush this year.  Fires continued to rage along Croatia's Adriatic coast on Thursday, threatening homes and roads.
Hundreds of firefighters in Greece, assisted by aircraft and helicopters, struggled to stop about 30 fires burning across the mainland and on the Aegean Sea islands of Naxos and Chios.
Fires near the Bulgarian district of Chirpan, 110 miles southeast of the capital Sofia, continued to burn for the sixth consecutive day, forcing local authorities to declare a state of emergency.  Government officials reported that 26 fires were still burning, and that a total of 9,000 acres had been charred.
The Kosovo capital, Pristina, remained without water supplies on Thursday after a brief storm knocked out a pump, further increasing the misery of residents sweltering in the heat wave.
Yugoslavian meteorologists reported that Kosovo is experiencing the highest sustained summer temperatures since 1946.
Killer Heat Wave Suffocates Croatia
Aug. 21,2000 -- The worst heat wave in more than half a century has killed at least nine people in Croatia, and there is no end in sight to the blistering heat.
Ivan Cacic, a meteorologist at the state forecasting bureau, said on Sunday that the season is the hottest summer since 1950.  Temperatures have hovered at 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and meteorologists predict even hotter weather for the coming week.
Temperatures at midnight in the capital city of Zagreb have stayed as high as 84 degrees Fahrenheit, affording no relief at night from the ongoing heat wave.
Medical warnings have been issued for elderly people to stay indoors until the weather cools.


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