A fire destroyed a large area of a forest in southwest France and the British filled the country’s beaches hottest day of the year to date.
The city of San Sebastian, on the northern coast of Spain, had a temperature of 42 ° C (107 ° F) on Thursday.
It was the hottest temperature since records began in 1955, the country’s national weather agency Aemet said.
The city of Palma, on the Spanish Mediterranean island of Mallorca, set a local record of 40.6 ° C (105 ° F) on Tuesday.
Aemet said tropical nights, when temperatures do not drop below 20 ° C (68 ° F), are also common in many parts of Spain in July.
The agency said: “Climate change is increasing the frequency of heat waves.”
Aemet added that the annual number of days in heatwave conditions has doubled since the 1980s.
Temperatures peaked at around 40C (104F) in many parts of Italy on Friday, where 14 cities were put on alert.
Heat waves were expected in several major cities in the north, including Rome, Bologna, Florence, Turin and Verona.
Tourists and locals alike have tried to escape the heat by taking shelter under trees, cooling off in public fountains, or having ice cream.
Italian forecasters say the heatwave is coming from Africa.
A fire devastated more than 150 hectares of a pine forest in southwestern France on Thursday evening, forcing people to evacuate many homes.
The fire broke out in the Chiberta forest, in the center of Anglet in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, and was brought under control on Friday morning.
Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire.
No casualties were reported, but around 100 people were evacuated from the area and 16 were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation, The Connexion reported.
People across the UK sought shade as temperatures rose above 37C on Friday.
The Met Office said a reading of 37.8 ° C, 100 ° F was recorded at Heathrow Airport in west London.
That made Friday the hottest day in 2020 and the third hottest on record.
Previous episodes of hot weather have seen people racing beaches around the UK coast, although they have not always observed social distancing measures designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Brighton City Council has called on visitors to stay away.
The council said it was “concerned about the number of people in the city” and added: “A large number makes it impossible to maintain physical distance. “