Wildfire hits Spain as heatwave persist in Europe

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Spain has been hit by wildfires in the Catalonia region with temperatures reaching 40C (104F) across parts of Europe, the worst in the region for 20 years and expected to spread rapidly.

Officials said at least 4,000 hectares (10,000 acres) have since been affected by the wildfires near the La Torre de l’Espanyol, town 80km from the coastal city of Tarragona.

There are fears the fire could spread to 20,000ha and 30 people have been evacuated and five roads closed.

Regional interior minister Miquel Buch said the fire might have been caused by “an accumulation of manure in a farm that generated enough heat to explode and generate sparks”.

In total, 11 provinces in the east and centre of Spain are set to experience temperatures above 40C. In parts of the north-east, they may reach 45C.

This comes as Spain, France and Italy are experiencing extreme heat.

On Wednesday Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic saw highest ever June temperatures.

Meteorologists warn The heat is expected to rise further in many countries in the coming few days.

By mid-afternoon temperatures had reached 39C in Turin in Italy, 41C in the Spanish city of Zaragoza, and 40C in Avignon in southern France.

Several cities in Italy including Rome, have issued the highest heat warnings.

A body of a 72-year-old homeless Romanian man was found near Milan’s central train station with officials saying the heat may have been a factor.

The heat has affected business, tourism in particular.

In  France – where a heatwave in 2003 was blamed for 15,000 deaths – is now on orange alert.

Orange alert is the second-highest warning level.

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