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Europe heatwave: France braces for record-breaking temperatures as Spain battles forest fires

  • Europe heatwave: France braces for record-breaking temperatures as Spain battles forest fires
    Temperature could exceed 42C in parts of France as scientists warn heatwaves will hit earlier than usual due to climate change Europe heatwave: France braces for record-breaking temperatures as Spain battles forest fires
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France, Spain and other western European nations braced for a sweltering weekend that is set to break records and sparked concern about forest fires and the effects of climate change.

Temperature could exceed 42C in parts of France as scientists warn heatwaves will hit earlier than usual due to climate change

France, Spain and other western European nations braced for a sweltering weekend that is set to break records and sparked concern about forest fires and the effects of climate change.

Temperatures already nudged over 40C in parts of France on Friday.

The weather on Saturday will represent a peak of a June heatwave that is in line with warnings from scientists that such phenomena will now hit earlier than usual because of climate change.

Temperatures are due to relent slightly from Sunday, with thunderstorms forecast in parts of France and elsewhere in Europe.

But French state weather forecaster Meteo France said June temperature records had already been beaten in 11 areas on Friday and could reach as high as 42C in some areas on Saturday.

In Spain, forest fires burned nearly 9,000 hectares of land in the north-west Sierra de la Culebra region on Friday, forcing about 200 people from their homes, regional authorities said.

And more than 3,000 people were evacuated from the Puy du Fou theme park in central Spain due to a fierce fire nearby.

Firefighters were battling fires in several other regions, including woodlands in Catalonia, where weather conditions complicated the fight.

The Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, praised firefighters “who risk their lives on the frontline of fires” on Friday, which is also World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.

Temperatures were above 35C Friday in most parts of the country.

The UK recorded its hottest day of the year on Friday, with temperatures reaching over 30C in the early afternoon, meteorologists said.

It was the third day in a row that temperature records had been broken in the UK, where it was over 28C on Wednesday and 29.5C on Thursday.

Experts warned that the high temperatures were caused by worrying climate change trends.

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