Major wildfire in Catalonia Spain

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Hundreds of firefighters are battling wildfires in Spain’s Catalonia region, as temperatures soared to 40C (104F) across parts of Europe.

Officials say the fires are the worst in the region for 20 years and may spread rapidly.

Spain, France and Italy are experiencing extreme heat. On Wednesday Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic saw highest ever June temperatures.

Meteorologists say hot air drawn in from northern Africa is responsible.

The heat is expected to rise further in many countries over the next three days, meteorologists warn.

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.

At least 4,000 hectares (10,000 acres) are affected by the wildfires, near the town of La Torre de l’Espanyol, 80km from the coastal city of Tarragona.

Officials said that in the intense heat the area of the fire could increase to 20,000ha.

At least 30 people have been evacuated and five roads have been closed. There have been no reports of casualties.

Regional interior minister Miquel Buch told Catalan radio 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 have experienced or are set to experience temperatures above 40C. In parts of the north-east, they may reach 45C.


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