France roasts in record high temperatures, deaths in Spain

Some 350 firefighters backed by around 230 soldiers and 15 aerial tanker aircraft fought the blaze the worst in Catalonia in 20 years

Some 350 firefighters backed by around 230 soldiers and 15 aerial tanker aircraft fought the blaze the worst in Catalonia in 20 years

Heat records were broken in Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Luxembourg and the small Principality of Andorra, between France and Spain.

Authorities have postponed summer examinations in France and northern regions in the country have been put on drought alert.

A major wildfire that broke out in northeastern Spain continued to burn out of control for a third straight day.

Météo-France, the national weather service, issued its highest warning level for four regions of the country.

People use an umbrella to shelter from the sun near the Louvre Pyramid (Pyramide du Louvre) during a heatwave in Paris on June 26, 2019. Teachers at the Victor Hugo Primary School in Colombes near Paris abandoned suffocating classrooms and are keeping children outside all day, spraying them with water and organizing quiet activities in the shade.

About 4,000 schools closed because they couldn't ensure safe conditions, and local authorities cancelled many end-of-school-year carnivals.

Heat waves - which kill more people than any other extreme weather event - will nearly certainly keep getting worse, everywhere.

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe described the heat as "exceptional in its precocity and intensity", saying government preparations were not an overreaction but a necessity. The incidents have taken place as people try to cool themselves in in the face of oppressive heat.

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He said the temperature at Montpellier airport, 110.3 degrees, "surpassed the previous all-time record" by 42.4 degrees, with measurements first taken in 1946.

The heat has caused risky conditions all across Europe and has been blamed for at least two deaths in Spain.

Four people have drowned so far in France this week, and a 12-year-old girl drowned in a river near Manchester, England. France's health minister and British police warned people to swim only in authorized areas.

People cool off at a open-air swimming pool in Haltern am See, western Germany on June 26, 2019 as temperatures topped 38 degrees Celsius.

France has also seen an uptick in so-called street-pooling, or illegally opening fire hydrants.

Also Thursday, a six-year-old Syrian child was seriously injured in the Saint-Denis neighbourhood north of Paris after being catapulted into the air by water gushing from an open fire hydrant and then crashing to the ground.

Wildfires have ravaged almost 10,000 acres across Catalonia - the blazes are said to be among the worst the region has seen in 20 years.

In Berlin, police have been taking out water cannons - which are typically used against rioters - and using them on trees in the German capital in an effort to cool them off.

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