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Europe heatwave: Forest fires hit Spain as France prepares for record temperatures

Europe heatwave: Forest fires hit Spain as France prepares for record temperatures
Scorching weather only a ‘foretaste of the future,’ says World Meteorological Organisation

Extreme heat blanketing Western Europe this weekend is likely to be only a “foretaste of future”, climate scientists and meteorologists have warned.

Temperature records could be broken in Frankryk, Spanje en Italië during a sweltering Saturday and Sunday.

The mercury nudged above 40C in parts of France on Friday – the hottest ever June day in 11 different areas – but could climb up to 42C on Saturday.

So fierce is the heat that the health ministry has activated a special helpline, terwyl die Red Cross is distributing fresh water to the homeless in Toulouse amid fears of people dying in the scorching sun.

Care homes are being sprayed with water to keep them cool through the weekend, en, in the Gironde department, all outdoor events have been cancelled.

“This is the earliest heatwave ever recorded in France,” said Matthieu Sorel, a climatologist at Meteo France.

Dit was, hy het bygevoeg, a “marker of climate change” with “many monthly or even all-time temperature records likely to be beaten in several regions” over the weekend.

Intussen, in Spain, forest fires have burned nearly 9,000 hectares of land in the north-west Sierra de la Culebra region already this week, forcing about 200 people to evacuate.

'N Ander een 3,000 people were evacuated from the Puy du Fou theme park in central Spain on Friday due to a fierce fire nearby.

In northern Italy, several towns have announced water rationing and the Lombardy region may declare a state of emergency as a record drought threatens harvests.

“As a result of climate change, heatwaves are starting earlier,” said Clare Nullis, a spokeswoman for the World Meteorological Organisation in Geneva.

Sy het bygevoeg: “What we’re witnessing today is unfortunately a foretaste of the future.”

The UK meanwhile is enjoying a relatively cooler weekend after recording its hottest day of the year on Friday when temperatures reached over 30C in some parts of the country.