Europe swelters as heat wave sizzles on | News | DW | 05.08.2018
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Europe swelters as heat wave sizzles on

Extreme heat continues to grip Portugal and Spain, with little relief in sight. The continued hot, dry conditions are presenting great challenges to firefighters across Europe.

Spain and Portugal continued to suffer from high temperatures on Sunday, with firefighters from both countries battling a forest fire near their shared border.

The fires burnt through Saturday night into Sunday morning near Badajoz in southwestern Spain. Temperatures there were expected to reach 43 C (109.4 F), according to Spain's meteorological service (AEMET).

Spanish emergency services said on Twitter that the fire had been contained but was not yet under control as of Sunday morning.

Portugal scorched

The entire Iberian Peninsula remains under the influence of a mass of hot air from Africa, and though temperatures are slightly down on those from Saturday, little relief is in sight.

The Portuguese capital, Lisbon, experienced its warmest day since 1981 on Saturday, with the temperature peaking at 44 C (111.2 F), one degree higher than the 37-year-old record.

A large part of Portugal has been placed on high alert by the country's Civil Protection Agency as hundreds of firefighters also battle a wildfire in the southern Algarve region.

Eight places in Portugal broke local temperature records on Thursday, with the high peaking at 47 C  in some places.

High risk in the north as well 

 In northern Europe, Sweden has warned of "a high risk" of wildfires in central and southern Sweden this weekend because of the continuing dry weather and strong winds.

In July, the Scandinavian country witnessed record temperatures and wildfires that extended into the Arctic Circle.

Sweden and Poland have warned against swimming in the Baltic Sea due to a huge bloom of toxic algae caused by hot temperatures.

Read moreCurrent heat waves are linked to climate change, scientists confirm

Infografik Karte Extreme Hitze EN

France shuts nuclear reactors

In France, energy company EDF halted a fourth nuclear reactor near the Rhine and the Rhone Rivers on Saturday to avoid overheating the rivers.

The nuclear power plants use the water to cool down their reactors before sending the water back into the rivers.

In Germany, state rail operator Deutsche Bahn said it was offering free water to passengers in case of delays. It also said it would keep air conditioning running on its trains even when they are empty.

Much of Germany has also been experiencing an unusually long run of high temperatures, accompanied by much less rainfall than usual. Farmers have requested financial aid from the government to help them cope with low harvests.

Read moreHot weather exposes World War II munitions in German waters

Swiss army soldiers ditch uniform

Mountain railways in Switzerland have reported booming business as city dwellers flee to the Alps.

Faced with wilting troops, the Swiss Army has allowed soldiers to wear shorts and T-shirts instead of standard uniforms.

Police dogs in the Austrian capital, Vienna, have also been fitted with special shoes to protect them from the scalding streets.

A supermarket in Helsinki, where temperatures are well above average, invited 100 customers to sleep in its air-conditioned store on Saturday.

tj,ap/ls (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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